How A Blood Test May Be Able to Detect Early Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists from Australia and Japan united in a team effort to find a way to detect the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The blood test they developed has proven to be successful as published in the journal, Nature.
The common way to detect Alzheimer’s disease medically is through a brain scan and cognitive testing after extensive damage had already been caused to the brain as evidenced by clumps of toxic amyloid beta protein. This is because amyloid build-up can begin occurring several decades before the appearance of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
90% Success Rate
The research team did a test-run on 121 patients from Japan and 252 patients from Australia. The participants had varying states of health, ranging from healthy to mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. The new study proved to have a 90% success rate at detecting the presence of amyloid proteins in the bloodstream.
Colin Masters, professor of dementia research at Melbourne’s Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, stated as the leader of the study: “This test is at least as good as current brain scan techniques and far surpasses existing blood tests.”
This is not the first time a scientific team developed a test of this kind. A similar test in 2017 had an 86% rate of accuracy. By analyzing blood samples from the participants, the scientists were able to detect the amyloid beta protein and predict the levels of accumulation in the brain.
Early Detection Is Critical
Early detection is critical in Alzheimer’s disease to introduce therapy as there is no treatment or cure available at this time. While this test needs further research to be applicable clinically, the team is hopeful that it may be able to provide insight in detecting Alzheimer’s disease earlier and developing treatments in the future.
Rob Howard, professor of old age psychiatry at University College London, provided helpful clarification concerning the study even though he was not involved: “This is not a blood test for dementia that people who are worried about their memory and concentration should be asking their doctors about. Not everyone with amyloid in their brains will turn out to have dementia, and not everyone who has dementia will be found to have amyloid in their brains.”
The study authors wrote: “These results demonstrate the potential clinical utility of plasma biomarkers in predicting brain amyloid-β at an individual level. These plasma biomarkers also have cost-benefit and scalability advantages over current techniques, potentially enabling broader clinical access and efficient population screening.”
Alzheimer’s disease is a raging epidemic sweeping across the globe, and it is exciting to consider the significance of this new blood test. The financial ramifications of this test show great potential compared to the current standards for detecting Alzheimer’s disease, and it may prove to be more efficient as well. We live in an age of discovery, and the future of Alzheimer’s disease will continue to look brighter if we refuse to give up hope looking for safer, more effective ways to treat it.
Check out these other great articles by EMaxHealth: Fish Is a Brain Food That May Prevent Alzheimer's Disease, Why Sleep Cycle Disruptions May Be An Early Warning Sign of Alzheimer's Disease, and How Sleep Apnea Increases Your Risk for Alzheimer's Disease.