A new blood test can now detect specific biomarker proteins at an early stage of the disease. These proteins are called amyloids. They build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers — and their expansion destroys healthy brain neurons and causes eventual death to the patient.
Catching Alzheimer’s disease at a very stage would trigger early interventions that could lead to a cure, or at the very least halt the progression of the disease.
Blood Test: In Search For Alzheimer’s Cure
Researchers at the National Center for Geriatrics in Japan developed a blood test that identifies accumulation of amyloid precursor proteins with 93 percent accuracy. Two hundred patients with either mild cognitive Alzheimer’s impairment, or non-Alzheimer’s dementia were tested.
This test is so sensitive that it even identified the amyloid protein in some subjects who were cognitively normal! Also as impressive, is their finding that this blood test is as accurate as the current test method for Alzheimer’s — positron-emission tomography (PET) or measuring the protein through cerebro-spinal fluid. Moreover, the test is fast, non-invasive and results are known almost immediately.
The sensitivity of this test allows for greater efficiency as it flags the disease at a much earlier development stage compared to the PET scan. Currently, amyloid proteins can exist for as long as two decades before the point at which a patient would be clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Blood Test: Conclusions
Researchers want to find out whether this test or development of an additional blood test could identify other Alzheimer’s bio-markers — such as proteins called tau tangles.
Ultimately, it is necessary to develop teats that can identify biomarkers at all stages of this disease — before and after onset of symptoms. This would help scientists find a cure, or at the very least slow the progression of the disease and allow for a decent quality of life.
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