What does freely circulating DNA in the blood have to do with dementia? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Higher levels of DNA found circulating in the blood of older people put them at increased risk of developing both frailty, with loss of muscle mass and risk for falls, and dementia, a Johns Hopkins study has found. Peter Abadir, a geriatrics expert and study author, says this DNA probably isn’t just an innocent bystander.

Abadir: Are these biomarkers, or are these players? Are the fragments part of a system that is just leaking the fragments and those are bystanders that are just picking them to see who’s who? Our data show that the bulk of those fragments are linked to higher levels of chronic inflammation. We are thinking of them at this point at least in hypothesis that those fragments are not without harm to be seen by the immune system.  :29

Abadir says the immune system revs up to remove these fragments and that may lead to inflammation, known to be associated with dementia risk. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.