Just in time for the boomers. Blood test that can predict Alzheimer's: Elderly could be given early warning
A simple blood test has been developed that gives healthy elderly people precious early warning they may get Alzheimer’s within the next three years. It is hoped the test, the first to predict accurately who will become ill, could speed the search for new drugs that can delay or even prevent the devastating brain disease.
Researcher Howard Federoff took blood samples from hundreds of healthy men and women aged 70-plus. During the next five years, some developed Alzheimer’s. Their blood samples were then compared with the samples taken from the people who remained free of the disease.
This flagged up a battery of ten fats that were present in lower amounts in the blood of those who went on to develop memory problems – despite them appearing healthy at the time they gave blood. Dr Federoff then confirmed the finding on a second group.
Writing in the journal Nature Medicine, he said the test can give two to three years’ warning of Alzheimer’s with 90 per cent accuracy. He said it is the first blood test to accurately forecast if an apparently healthy person will succumb to Alzheimer’s. It is also quicker, cheaper and less invasive than other methods such as expensive scans and painful lumbar punctures. It isn’t entirely clear how the test works but changes in the blood may be a sign of brain cells deteriorating even when people appear healthy.
Let's hope that such a blood test will encourage drug companies to make Alzheimer's drugs faster and people to take preventative measures earlier .
Alzheimer's disease may be the third major cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer, according to a new study in the journal Neurology.Posted by Jill Fallon at March 10, 2014 3:34 PM | Permalink
The study shows that the number of deaths caused by Alzheimer's is five to six times higher than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, which is based on data from death certificates.