Can a single blood test for cell free DNA reliably predict dementia risk? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Levels of DNA found in the blood known as cell free DNA may be able to predict an older person’s risk for developing dementia and frailty, a Johns Hopkins study shows. Lolita Nidadavolu, a geriatrics expert and researcher, says this trend is validated in several measures taken for each study participant over several years of follow-up.

Nidadavolu, Lolita: As you can imagine the amount of cells dying can vary over a person’s lifetime. And the study participants they have blood samples from different time points and so we have the ability of being able to measure the same individual over time and seeing how there’s variability in these cell free fragments, and again, looking at relationships between those changes and changes in their cognitive test scores as well as their frailty test scores. Individuals with higher levels at that time point have a higher hazard of developing dementia. :31

Nidadavolu says the goal of this test would be to screen those at risk and employ interventions that may help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.