Researchers at Oregon State University believe that detecting nutrient biomarkers in people with Alzheimer's may be an important step in developing treatment and prevention methods for the disease.
Scientists have suspected a link between the disorder and nutrition. However, accurate data is hard to find since it currently depends on a patient's recall of what they've eaten and also does not take into account how differently an elderly person's body may absorb nutrients.
"The gold standard to assess nutritional status should be biomarkers based on blood tests," said Emily Ho, co-author of the study.
As researchers begin to understand which populations are at risk for Alzheimer's disease, they improve their chances of developing prevention strategies. Additionally, with an accurate read of an individual's nutritional level, scientists can obtain better knowledge of how supplements and deficiencies affect a person's odds of getting the disorder.
For the study, researchers asked 38 elderly volunteers about their daily eating habits. Half of the participants had good memory and the others had a cognitive deficit. When compared to a nutritional assessment via a blood test, results showed that only those with intact memories gave reliable information.