Parkinson's Disease vs Alzheimer's Disease: tau-total (Plasma and Serum)


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During the past decade, the development of highly sensitive assays—like SIMOA and immunomagnetic reduction—has permitted the quantification of biomolecules in blood. Meta-analysis of three eligible studies showed that the level of tau in the plasma of people with Parkinson's disease was about half that of people with Alzheimer's disease (effect size = 0.574, p <0.0001). For comparison, the level of tau in the blood—plasma or serum—of control subjects is about 70 percent that of people with AD.

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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.