Alzheimer’s blood test detects disease decades before symptoms

Researchers have yet to find a drug in which reverses the effects of Alzheimer’s once they start to show, along with the repeated failures have been crushing. although two recent studies on blood tests might help turn the tide by helping develop more effective treatments.

Researcher Dr. Randall Bateman of Washington University in St. Louis unveiled a blood test This kind of past summer in which can detect Alzheimer’s decades before a patient shows physical symptoms. Then This kind of past January a Japanese along with Australian team published a study in Nature about a blood test in which can detect Alzheimer’s with 0 percent accuracy.

A key characteristic of Alzheimer’s is usually the buildup of a protein called amyloid beta inside the brain. This kind of toxic protein can cause dementia. Amyloid has been the overwhelming target of clinical drug trials inside the Alzheimer’s field. Bateman estimates the blood test can detect amyloid up to 20 years before a person will develop Alzheimer’s.

The blood tests use mass spectrometry to detect amyloid beta. Dr. Koichi Tanaka, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist, first developed mass spectrometry testing for proteins, along with he was instrumental inside the Japanese/Australian study.

“The Japanese group independently developed a similar mass-spectrometry assay along with found nearly identical findings to ours,” Bateman said via email to CNBC. “This kind of indicates the test is usually repeatable along with robust, even in different labs.”

The current alternatives to the blood test are invasive along with expensive. One alternative is usually a lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, to collect cerebrospinal fluid. The procedure requires local anesthetic before a doctor inserts a needle between two vertebrae inside the lower back. The additional alternative is usually a positron emission tomography, or PET scan, which can cost $7,000 or more. PET scans only detect amyloid betas with 20 percent to 30 percent accuracy.

“A blood test is usually the quickest, easiest along with fastest way, along with the item’s certainly the cheapest way,” said Dr. Robert Vassar, an Alzheimer’s researcher at Northwestern University. “If we could do a blood test, in which would likely make things a lot simpler.”

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