Samples are taken every 18 months as part of a longitudinal study of healthy older Australians.
“We found that people with elevated levels of 3-HAA were 35 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those with normal levels,” said David Lovejoy from Macquarie School of Medicine.
This is the first time that higher 3-HAA levels have been shown to be an early warning sign of the disease. In the past, 3-HAA has been observed to actually decrease after being diagnosed with dementia, but no one has ever looked back to measure it during the lead.
So the team was surprised to find that increased 3-HAA levels strongly predicted the risk of developing the mild cognitive impairment leading to a diagnosis of dementia.
“Increased levels of the 3-HAA metabolite have been shown to decrease the immune response to amyloid formation in the brain, one of the key ‘bad actors’ in the development of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Lovejoy added.
While at this early stage the 3-HAA testing process is at the laboratory stage, there is every reason to believe that rapid blood testing could be developed in the future, the team said.
“In theory, if you notice your levels are high, you should have a brain scan to determine if there is a build-up of amyloid plaques, a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, and start taking steps.” precautions,” Lovejoy said.
“We still don’t know if the increased levels of 3-HAA that lead to dementia can be reversed. That’s something that needs further study, but there are a lot of exciting possibilities here.
“There’s also the potential to use such a trial to test whether new Alzheimer’s therapies are effective. In theory, if 3-HAA levels start to drop, it could show that the approach is doing well. The treatment is giving the desired effect,” Lovejoy said.
Fortunately, Lovejoy notes that there are lifestyle changes anyone can make at any age to help reduce chronic inflammation, including a nutritious diet low in red meat and whole grains. processed and lots of vegetables, such as greens and red berries; and at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, such as walking, swimming or biking; and reduce alcohol consumption.