The latest research has come up with a blood test to detect Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s has always been difficult to confirm. Until recently, only an autopsy could detect Alzheimer’s with certainty. With medical advances, doctors began to use PET brain scans. Another method used is testing levels of amyloid. Amyloid is a toxic protein that is a sign of Alzheimer’s. This test, which involves drawing fluid from the spine, is invasive and painful
A Blood Test to Detect Alzheimer’s
Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a simple blood test can pinpoint the early signs of Alzheimer’s in a new study. Using a blood test to confirm Alzheimer’s is both convenient and easy. How does it work?
The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s symptoms are memory loss and confusion. About twenty years before people develop these symptoms, harmful clumps of amyloid beta protein begin to accumulate in their brain. Now we may be able to measure the levels of amyloid beta in the blood. This can help us tell us whether the protein has accumulated in the brain. Researchers claim that the blood test may be even more sensitive than a PET brain scan.
Two Additional Factors
Researchers take two additional factors into account when trying to identify people who have early Alzheimer’s brain changes. They consider the results of the blood amyloid levels, the age of the person and whether the genetic variant APOE4 is present. By putting them all together, researchers claim to identify with 94% accuracy.
The study included 150 adults over age 50 who had no thinking or memory problems.
Future Uses of the Blood Test
Researchers said that this test could be available in doctors’ offices within a few years, the researchers said. This means that it will be easier to develop treatments that stop the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical trials of Alzheimer’s drugs are hard to conduct because it’s hard to identify patients who have Alzheimer’s brain changes but no symptoms. The blood test could help spot people with early signs of the disease who will want to participate in drug clinical trials.
Today, people are screened for clinical trials using brain scans. This is time-consuming and expensive. With a blood test, thousands of people could be screened in one month. By enrolling people in clinical trials, researchers will be able to find treatments faster.