October 2, 2015 – Glucose Tolerance and Dementia


Anchor lead:  Could variations in a common test identify early dementia? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Oral glucose tolerance tests are commonly used during pregnancy and to test for diabetes.  Now research led by Esther Oh, a dementia expert at Johns Hopkins, shows the same test may distinguish people who have the very earliest stages of dementia, a condition known as mild cognitive impairment, because of how the test affects a protein in the blood known as amyloid.

Oh: What we don’t have right now is a very simple blood-based biomarker.  :05

Oh: Basically the difference is that when we give the oral glucose tolerance test and we measure blood amyloid levels, patients who are normal have what we call clearance patterns, so the amount of amyloid detected in the blood actually goes down after baseline in about 10 minutes, and then goes back up.  We don’t see that pattern in patients with mild cognitive impairment.   :22

Oh says such a test may help determine who might benefit from drugs to slow down or halt the development of dementia.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.