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Nose Swab Able to Detect Fatal Brain Disorder
- Updated: August 7, 2014
In the beginning, people might just feel depressed and could suffer personality changed or have bouts of psychosis.
When blindness, memory failure and coma set it, which is typically only a year after infection, death is imminent most of the time.
However, now researchers say that a simple swab of the nose might help doctors detect the presence of the disease much more accurately and at an earlier stage than any current methods.
Finding simple diagnostic tests that are noninvasive are excellent with regard to CJD and the other prion diseases, said a leading biochemist.
Although there is not a cure for CJD, having an early diagnosis is vitally important because will help to rule out other disorders and gives medical personnel the opportunity to prepare precautions to prevent the disease from spreading to anyone else through the exposure to spinal fluid or brain tissue.
A major stride was made by researchers toward better methods of diagnosis in 2010, when researchers first described the new technique named the RT-QulC exam.
The test requires the removal of cerebrospinal fluid form patients via a spinal tap. Then placing the sample into a bath of prion proteins that are normally shaped and agitating that solution to encourage any prion seeds that are abnormal to latch onto a regular one.
The current RT-QulC test used in centers around the globe works well but misses between 10% and 20% of the cases.
It also is invasive.
In the recent study, the scientists ran a fiber optic scope into the patient’s nose up to the top of the nasal cavity, where the olfactory neurons can be found. The theory is those neurons contain much more prion proteins that are abnormal than CSF does.
A small brush was then rolled along the nasal vault roof and the samples were reviewed and had higher concentrations of prions.