Before patients begin to experience memory loss and confusion, a simple blood test could identify markers of Alzheimer’s disease .
That’s the first step they’ve taken in recent research led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that has been published in the journal Alzheimer and Dementia .
Currently, the only viable methods for the detection of beta amyloid are positron emission tomography (PET) or lumbar puncture. However, these two diagnostic methods are burdensome for different reasons : PET scanning is expensive and not generally available, and lumbar puncture is highly invasive.
But this study opens the door to diagnosis through blood tests, after doing a test with 41 60-year-old individuals to assess the blood concentration of amyloid beta. 23 people tested positive, showing they had signs of cognitive decline. As Randall J. Bateman , leader of the work, explains:
Our results show that this beta-amyloid can detect whether amyloid has started to accumulate in the brain, which is exciting because it could be the basis for a quick and inexpensive blood screening test to identify people at high risk of developing it. Alzheimer’s disease.