Blood Test for Alzheimer’s diagnosis?

October 19, 2007

18 million people worldwide are affected by Alzheimer’s, but it has been hard for doctors to make an accurate diagnosis until the disease is well progressed. Now, researchers have developed a simple blood test that may be able to predict whether mild lapses of memory could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, an international team of researchers describe 18 cell-signalling, or communication, proteins found in blood that predicted with 90 percent accuracy whether a person would develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently, doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s disease by excluding other potential causes of memory loss, such as stroke, tumours and heavy drinking. They can also administer simple paper-and-pencil tests, and sometimes use brain scans, but this blood test could be used to detect changes in these proteins and because they occur early on in the disease process they could be used to predict the disease two to six years ahead of its onset.


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