Cell free DNA in someone’s blood could have many consequences, Elizabeth Tracey reports


Pinpointing someone’s risk to develop dementia or frailty may rely on a blood test looking for cell free DNA, a Johns Hopkins study finds. Lolita Nidadavolu, a geriatrics expert and researcher, says this type of DNA provokes a reaction in the body involving our immune response.

Nidadavolu: It’s known to be immune stimulating to have DNA, free-floating DNA, in our bloodstream, this is how our body detects pathogens like bacteria or viruses normally. There’s also a factor of how our body removes the DNA fragments as well. So in some studies it seems like there could be a factor of kidney function that comes into play. Different enzymes that are in the blood that would degrade the DNA fragments. There’s a delicate balance to see how we end up with the amount of DNA that we have.  :30

Nidadavolu says that as more effective interventions are developed for both frailty and dementia early identification of those at risk will be important. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.