Researchers Move Closer to Alzheimer's Blood Test
Researchers from the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine are nearing development of a blood test that can accurately detect the presence of Alzheimer's disease, which would give physicians an opportunity to intervene at the earliest, most treatable stage. The test has an accuracy rate of above 95 percent, they said.
Robert Nagele, PhD, presented his team's most recent findings October 18 at OMED 15 in Orlando. Dr. Nagele's work focuses on utilizing autoantibodies as blood-based biomarkers to accurately detect the presence of myriad diseases and pinpoint the stage to which a disease has progressed. An individual's autoantibody profile is strongly influenced by age, gender and the presence of specific diseases or injuries. Diseases cause characteristic changes in autoantibody profiles that, when detected, can serve as biomarkers that reveal the presence of the disease. The blood test developed by Dr. Nagele has also shown promise in detecting other diseases, including Parkinsons's, multiple sclerosis and breast cancer.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a term for memory loss and problems with thinking that affects daily life. About 5.3 million Americans are affected by the disease, and that number is expected to swell by 40 percent over the next decade. Even worse, according to the Alzheimer's Association, it is the country's only leading killer that cannot be prevented.
Detecting Alzheimer's antibodies 8 to 10 years before symptoms appear would give patients an opportunity to work with their physician to make lifestyle changes or receive available treatments before they become symptomatic. Potentially, this early intervention could help those with preclinical Alzheimer's avoid or delay the most devastating symptoms.