LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As scientists and doctors study and treat Alzheimer’s disease, they all agree early detection is key to treatment before significant damage to the brain occurs.
A breakthrough blood test revealed at this week’s Alzheimer’s Association international conference may be the game changer they’re hoping for.
Currently, brain changes that occur during Alzheimer’s disease can only truly be detected and measured through expensive imaging called a PET scan, most often not covered by insurance.
The scans measure changes in brain proteins called amyloid and tau for visible cognitive decline. Now, researchers have made a major breakthrough with a simpler blood test that can distinguish Alzheimer’s from other neuro-degenerative disorders with up to 98% accuracy and could one day be used to detect Alzheimer’s in a person up to 20 years before the onset of the disease. Subsequent blood tests could further track decline in brain function.
This test still has to undergo clinical trials but it opens up the possibility of early diagnosis before the dementia stage which would provide a huge advantage for therapy and treatments to slow down the disease progression or maybe even one day stop it altogether.