Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease using infrared spectroscopy of isolated blood samples followed by multivariate analyses†
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia, particularly in the elderly. The disease is characterized by cognitive decline that typically starts with insidious memory loss and progresses relentlessly to produce global impairment of all higher cortical functions. Due to better living conditions and health facilities in developed countries, which result in higher overall life spans, these countries report upward trends of AD among their populations. There are, however, no specific diagnostic tests for AD and clinical diagnosis is especially difficult in the earliest stages of the disease. Early diagnosis of AD is frequently subjective and is determined by physicians (generally neurologists, geriatricians, and psychiatrists) depending on their experience. Diagnosing AD requires both medical history and mental status testing. Having trouble with memory does not mean you have AD. AD has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. In this study, we investigated the potential of infrared microscopy to differentiate between AD patients and controls, using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy of isolated blood components. FTIR is known as a quick, safe, and minimally invasive method to investigate biological samples. For this goal, we measured infrared spectra from white blood cells (WBCs) and plasma taken from AD patients and controls, with the consent of the patients or their guardians. Applying multivariate analysis, principal component analysis (PCA) followed by linear discriminant analysis (LDA), it was possible to differentiate among the different types of mild, moderate, and severe AD, and the controls, with 85% accuracy when using the WBC spectra and about 77% when using the plasma spectra. When only the moderate and severe stages were included, an 83% accuracy was obtained using the WBC spectra and about 89% when using the plasma spectra.