There is new hope for a simple blood test that could detect and diagnose Alzheimer’s 20 years ahead of the first symptoms. What’s more, the blood test seems as accurate as more expensive, invasive brain scans and spinal taps used for diagnosis, and much more precise than memory and thinking tests now used to uncover Alzheimer’s.
Researchers from the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix who studied 6000 people with genetic, early onset Alzheimer’s, say the blood test distinguished Alzheimer’s from other forms of dementia 89-98% of the time! And, Swedish researchers looking at 700 people from that country got similar results using Eli Lilly’s blood test.
While doctors are quick to caution this is not a cure or even a treatment, they are also quick to say it’s possible this blood test could be widely available within 2 to 3 years as a widely affordable diagnostic tool. Researchers say the blood test shows clear evidence of plaques and tangles that are unique to Alzheimer’s, ruling out other dementias.
There are significant emotional and moral dilemmas to consider. Would you want to know if you are destined for Alzheimer’s, especially if there aren’t any reliable medications that slow or stop the mind robbing disease?
But considering that Alzheimer’s now afflicts 20 million people worldwide, and is projected to afflict 40 million by 2050, this is big, big news.