New Alzheimer's Blood Test Showing Great Progress

A new Alzheimer's blood test, researched on over 1,100 people, is showing great promise for this devastating disease that affects more than 35 million people worldwide.

The blood test for Alzheimer's appears to be accurate in up to 80% of cases and was able to predict accuracy for both those patients with the disease, and those without the disease. The findings were verified with brain scans.

Researches in Australia found that the experimental test did a good job at being able to predict how much of the beta amyloid plaques were found in the patients' brains.

alzheimers blood test

Researches in Australia found that the experimental test did a good job at being able to predict how much of the beta amyloid plaques were found in the patients' brains.

There are several other blood test for Alzheimer's being researched, but in the Australian study the results have been validated against more traditional screening and testing methods, such as MRI and CT Scans.

Click on the brain scan link above to review some of the diagnostic imaging test that are currently being used to diagnose Alzheimer's.

Study Details

A total of over 1,100 people were in the study, some healthy and some already diagnosed with Alzheimer's dementia.

They started by obtaining 273 blood samples from the study participants and were able to identify 9 hormones and proteins that seem to be most predictive of brain levels of beta amyloid. The researches set a high point level, indicating that those participants that tested above that level were most likely to develop the symptoms of Alzheimer's.

The blood test correctly identified 83% of those patients with high levels of beta amyloid in the brain. Just as importantly, it was able to correctly identify 80% of those without high levels in the brain. The results were than verified against brain scans.

It appears that the lag time between a positive Alzheimer's blood test and the onset of clinical symptoms of the disease could be in the range of 8 - 10 years.

What the Alzheimer's Blood Test Means to You

With the projected lag time of 8 -10 years, once this test is available commercially for physicians to use, it is feasible that those people at risk could be tested prior to the onset of symptoms, allowing for early treatment and giving people the time to make plans for the future.

There are some Alzheimer's medications that could be potentially started earlier in those that test positive. It would also give patients the opportunity to start a regimen of vitamins for memory that may be beneficial as well.

What's Next?

The Australian research team has applied for a patent to make this test commercially available. Further research will need to be conducted on more patients to assure that the test results are accurate.

This Alzheimer's blood test shows great promise and is a breakthrough in Alzheimer's research. With this lower costs screening tool available, more people could be tested and treatment started earlier to help prevent the onset of the disease.

2012 Update

Scientist in the United States are also working on finding an Alzheimer's blood test. Two additional studies are currently underway, one based at University of Pennsylvania and one at Washington University in St. Louis.

Although all studies continue to show progress, significant challenges remain ahead for scientist.

William Hu, assistant professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine in the US states:

"Reliability and failure to replicate initial results have been the biggest challenge in this field."

Initital results in all studies continue to need to be replicated in larger samples, including in patients with different forms of dementia.

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