Italian blood test for copper predicts Alzheimer's risk

Plasma levels linked with triple risk of disease

(ANSA) - Rome, April 14 - A blood test developed in Italy to measure "free" copper levels in the plasma offers promise for predicting and preventing Alzheimer's disease, said researchers at the Fatebenefratelli Hospital of Rome on Monday. Elevated copper levels in blood plasma coincides with triple the risk of contracting the neurological degenerative disease, they said.
    The new blood test offers the prospect of preventing the disease by lowering the concentration of copper in the blood for at-risk subjects, explained Rosanna Squitti at Fatebenefratelli Hospital. In recent years, a number of studies have concluded that copper plays an important role in roughly 60% of Alzheimer patient cases, added research coordinator Paola Maria Rossini, also at Fatebenefratelli. Rossini added that free copper circulating in the blood can have a toxic effect on the brain, and thus become a target for preventative treatment. The blood test and research were developed by researchers at the Università Cattolica in Rome as well as the Fatebenefratelli Hospitals of Rome and Brescia.
    The study was published in the Annals of Neurology.


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