Spanish idea brings us closer to detecting Alzheimer’s

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Spanish idea brings us closer to detecting Alzheimer's
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Spanish idea brings us closer to detecting Alzheimer’s. Scientists are one step closer to using saliva to detect Alzheimer’s.

The Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN) estimates that 80 per cent of early Alzheimer’s cases are undiagnosed. In Spain around 800,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease already. This number is expected to grow as the population ages.

At the moment there are no effective treatments for Alzheimer’s. There are no early detection tools either.

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Spanish scientists have been working for years following a clue that could help them understand the disease. They also believe that this clue could lead the way to early detection. A protein called lactoferrin is present in human saliva. Scientists discovered that the lower the level the higher the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. They believe that this protein could lead the way to detecting the disease before it develops.

Scientists from Spain have been researching this for several years.

Gorka Orive, associate professor of Pharmacy at the University of the Basque Country and founder of Geroa Diagnostics spoke to El Confidential. Orive explained that lactoferrin is “the only protein with the potential to help diagnose Alzheimer’s in saliva”.


Scientists from the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville and Ciberned, led by researcher José Luis Cantero have conducted a new study. This study has proven the link between levels of the protein and damage in the brain. Further work needs to be done but this study could help pave the way for an Alzheimer’s test in the future.


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Alex Glenn is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News. Formerly she worked in the NHS for 15 years until relocating to Spain in 2018. She loves the Spanish lifestyle, language and culture and spent several years learning Spanish before moving to Spain for a better quality of life. She has made her home in the mountains in Almeria, where she loves being part of a rural community that has a mix of both expats and Spanish residents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and exploring the area where she lives.

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