A new blood test is reported to be able to identify people in their 70s who are likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease within 3 years, with at least a 90 percent accuracy.
This study is the first of its kind and can change how science predicts Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairments in patients.
The test is the first that identifies blood-based bio-markers to predict the disease, and may be ready for use in clinical studies within two years.
About 500 healthy subjects aged 70 and older gave blood at the outset and at regular intervals. Over five years, 74 subjects met the criteria for either mild Alzheimer’s disease or amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), the main symptom of which is memory loss.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
It is not a normal part of aging.
When compared to the blood of normal test subjects, about ten lipids were identified that reveal the breakdown of neural cell membranes in those people who developed symptoms of cognitive impairment.
Dr. Howard J. Federoff, professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center, and lead author of the study told CTV News, “The lipid panel was able to distinguish with 90 percent accuracy these two distinct groups: cognitively normal participants who would progress to MCI or AD within two to three years, and those who would remain normal in the near future.”
The findings are published in the April edition of the journal Nature Medicine.
The National Institute of Aging estimates that at least 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and a lot of what is known today about the disease has only been discovered in the last 15 years.
S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on twitter @ReporterandGirl or on Facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl and visit her website at www.SCRhyne.com