Wednesday, August 5, 2020
It is possible that a simple blood test could be just as effective in diagnosing Alzheimer's as costly PET scans of the brain.
This newly developed blood test has diagnosed the disease "as accurately as methods that are far more expensive or invasive..." This test could potentially make diagnosis simpler, and better yet, more affordable and available.
"The test determined whether people with dementia had Alzheimer's instead of another condition." and it identified signs of the degenerative, deadly disease 20 years before memory and thinking problems were expected in people with a genetic mutation that causes Alzheimer's" according to research published in JAMA.
Researchers predict that the test could be available for clinical use in as little as tow to three years.
“This blood test very, very accurately predicts who’s got Alzheimer’s disease in their brain, including people who seem to be normal,” said Dr. Michael Weiner, an Alzheimer’s disease researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study. “It’s not a cure, it’s not a treatment, but you can’t treat the disease without being able to diagnose it. And accurate, low-cost diagnosis is really exciting, so it’s a breakthrough.”
Nearly six million people in the United States have Alzheimer's. Further, roughly 30 million people worldwide suffer from the disease. A new test like this one could potentially lower this numbers, or at the very least, slow them down.
See Pam Belluck, ‘Amazing, Isn’t It?’ Long-Sought Blood Test for Alzheimer’s in Reach, N.Y. Times Magazine, July 28, 2020.
Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.