Researchers may now be able to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease Using Saliva’s 1H NMR-Based Metabolomics.

Investigators found salivary molecules hold promise as reliable diagnostic biomarkers.

The study exemplifies the quest by scientists to combat Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disorder with no cure and few reliable diagnostic tests. In the United States, Alzheimer’s is a health epidemic affecting more than 5 million Americans. Investigators seek to develop valid and reliable biomarkers, diagnosing the disease in its earliest stages before brain damage occurs and dementia begins.

Researcher Stewart Graham, Ph.D., said, “We used metabolomics, a newer technique to study molecules involved in metabolism. Our goal was to find unique patterns of molecules in the saliva of our study participants that could be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in the earliest stages, when treatment is considered most effective. Presently, therapies for Alzheimer’s are initiated only after a patient is diagnosed and treatments offer modest benefits.”

Metabolomics is used in medicine and biology for the study of living organisms. It measures large numbers of naturally occurring small molecules, called metabolites, present in the blood, saliva and tissues. The pattern or fingerprint of metabolites in the biological sample can be used to learn about the health of the organism.

Using 1H NMR metabolomics, we biochemically profiled saliva samples collected from healthy-controls (n = 12), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) sufferers (n = 8), and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients (n = 9). We accurately identified significant concentration changes in 22 metabolites in the saliva of MCI and AD patients compared to controls. This pilot study demonstrates the potential for using metabolomics and saliva for the early diagnosis of AD. Given the ease and convenience of collecting saliva, the development of accurate and sensitive salivary biomarkers would be ideal for screening those at greatest risk of developing AD.

Metabolomics is used in medicine and biology for the study of living organisms. It measures large numbers of naturally occurring small molecules, called metabolites, present in the blood, saliva, and tissues. The pattern or fingerprint of metabolites in the biological sample can be used to learn about the health of the organism.

Credit: Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

National Institute Of Health

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