MONDAY, March 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Patients with poor cognitive function have significantly lower levels of Alzheimer disease-related biomarkers in the vitreous humor, according to a study published March 8 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Lauren M. Wright, M.D., from the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed vitreous humor samples from 80 eyes of 80 individuals to quantify levels of beta amyloid-β (Aβ40, Aβ42), phosphorylated tau (pTau), and total tau (tTau). Serum was also used to determine apolipoprotein E (APOE) status. Participants underwent testing with the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE).

The researchers found that lower MMSE scores were significantly associated with lower levels of vitreous Aβ40 (P = 0.015), Aβ42 (P = 0.0066), and tTau (P = 0.0085). There was no association between these biomarkers and any preexisting eye conditions. There was a trend toward an association between the presence of the ε4 allele and the ε2 allele with reduced Aβ40 level (P = 0.053) and increased p-Tau level (P = 0.056), respectively.

“Results suggest ocular proteins may have a role for early dementia detection in individuals at-risk for Alzheimer disease,” the authors write.

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