Control vs Alzheimer's Disease: tau-p181 (Plasma and Serum)


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A large number of studies over the past 20 years have quantified phosphorylated tau protein in the cerebrospinal fluid of people with Alzheimer’s disease, consistently finding that levels of tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (tau-p181) are nearly double in AD patients compared with control subjects. During the past decade, the development of highly sensitive assays—like SIMOA and immunomagnetic reduction—has enabled the quantification of biomolecules in blood. Meta-analysis of 19 comparisons showed that in blood, as in CSF, the level of tau-p181 in control subjects is about half that in AD patients (effect size = 0.556, p <0.0001).

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How to interpret a forest plot: Each individual effect size (ES) is a ratio of the mean biomarker level in one condition over the mean level in another condition. An ES equal to 1 means that the two conditions had identical mean values. An ES > 1 indicates higher levels in the first condition, whereas an ES < 1 indicates lower levels in the first condition. The overall ES, indicated by a black diamond, is a weighted average of the individual effect sizes. The weight of each data point was determined by the inverse of the variance and is reflected in the size of each square. The width of the overall ES diamond is determined by the 95 percent confidence interval. Data out of range of the scale, including ES and confidence intervals, are indicated by an arrowhead at the edge of the plot, when applicable. 

Version 3.0, July 2021.