Researchers have developed a blood test for Alzheimer’s disease. The study predicts with astonishing accuracy whether a healthy person will develop the disease. Much work still need to be done but there’s hoped the test will someday be available in doctors office sinc eht only methods for predicting Alzheimer’s right now such as PET scans and spinal taps are expensive, often unreliable, impractical and sometimes risky.
The study was published in Nature Medicine by Georgetown University Medical Center. In the beginning, the researchers knew they wanted to find a blood test to detect Alzheimer’s but didn’t know what specifically to look for. They start with fats and drew blood from hundreds of healthy people over age 70 living near ROchester, New York and Irvine, California. Five years later, 28 of the seniors had developed Alzheimer’s disease or the mild cognitive problems that usually precede it.
Scouring more than 100 fats, or lipids, for what might set this group apart, they found that these 28 seniors had low levels of 10 particular lipids, compared with healthy seniors.
To confirm their findings, the researchers then looked at the blood of 54 other patients who had Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment. This group also had low levels of the lipids.
Overall, the blood test predicted who would get Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment with over 90% accuracy. The result from this test caught Alzheimer’s before the patient even had symptoms, suggesting that the disease process begin long before people’s memories start failing. The lipid levels started decreasing at the same time as brain cells started dying.Other research teams are looking at other possible tests for Alzheimer’s. The need for a screening test of some kind for Alzheimer’s has never been greater: A report released last week says the disease claims the lives of perhaps a half a million Americans, making it nearly as deadly as heart disease and cancer.
A successful test for Alzheimer’s could transform medical research and treatment drugs could be tested at a much earlier stage in the disease.Dr Simon Ridley, from the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the findings were “encouraging” and that a blood test would be a “real step forward”.
The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dr Doug Brown said the test needed to be investigated further, but could pose ethical challenges.
Source :- CNN