News on Wellness

Finally It May Be Possible to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Before the Symptoms Show

Diagnose Alzheimer’s

Three new studies say that patients with Alzheimer’s have the disease two decades before being diagnosed. Researchers have previously recognized genetic risk factors that present some people higher chances of contracting Alzheimer’s one day. The new studies are diverse and say that certain biomarkers of the disease may be detectable after it has begun to affect the brain and sooner than symptoms have become apparent. The studies target different biomarkers in different places, one in the blood, one in the cerebrospinal fluid, and one in the brain itself. But all will require more years of research.

Diagnose Alzheimer’s

The onset of the disease, decades before it is diagnosed is distinguished by a buildup in the brain of clumps, or plaques, of beta-amyloid protein and somewhat later by twisted tangles of another protein called tau protein. By the time the disease is diagnosed the brain damage will be extensive.

The researchers hope that the early detection and diagnosis will also help encourage and speed the development of new therapies. For now the options of Alzheimer’s treatment is limited, with only 5 FDA approved drugs. They all offer only temporary relief but do not treat the disease.

Researchers led by Howard Federoff, professor of neurology and executive dean of the Georgetown University School of Medicine are currently developing a blood test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. According to their study the blood lipid levels could differentiate people who will remain cognitively normal and who will develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s over the next few years.

Claudio Soto, director of the Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Brain Disorders at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, has developed a test that detects misfolded beta-amyloid protein in tiny quantities in the cerebrospinal fluid of Alzheimer’s patients, but not in patients with other neurological diseases.

The third new study by Murali Doraiswamy, professor of psychiatry and director of the neurocognitive disorders program at Duke University, showed that PET scans using the radioactive dye Amyvid can predict a high risk for developing Alzheimer’s symptoms in patients that don’t yet have them.

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