Blood tests may enable more accurate diagnosis of ALS at an earlier stage of the disease. As described in a study by researchers at University of Gothenburg and Umeå University, it involves measuring the blood level of a substance that, as they have also shown, varies in concentration depending on which variant of ALS the patient has.
Currently, it is difficult to diagnose amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common form of motor neuron disease, early in the course of the disease. Even after a prolonged investigation, there is a risk of misdiagnosis due to other diseases that may resemble ALS in early stages. Much would be gained from earlier correct diagnosis and, according to the researchers, the current findings look promising.
Neurofilaments — proteins with a special role in the cells and fibers of nerves — are the substances of interest. When the nervous system is damaged, neurofilaments leak into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and in lower concetrations in blood compared to CSF. In their study, scientists at Umeå University and the University Hospital of Umeå, as well as at the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, demonstrated that CSF and blood levels of neurofilaments can differentiate ALS from other diseases that may resemble early ALS.
The study, published in Scientific Reports.
Release date: 26 January 2022
Source: University of Gothenburg