A study recently published in the Archives of Neurology found three biomarkers in spinal fluid that identify patients who are developing Alzheimer's with up to 100 percent accuracy. The study, conducted by researchers at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium and colleagues in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, analyzed data from 114 older adults with no apparent memory loss, 200 older adults who had mild cognitive impairment and 102 older adults who had Alzheimer's disease.
They first modeled the data from all study subjects without regard for their cognitive status to identify each patient's levels of three specific biomarkers. One biomarker profile was then assumed to be associated with Alzheimer's disease while the other matched a "healthy" status.
Researchers then applied these biomarker profiles to each subgroup, the Alzheimer's disease signature was found in 90 percent of the study group subset who had Alzheimer's, 72 percent of those with mild cognitive impairment and 36 percent of those considered normal with not cognitive ailments.
Medical experts agree that Alzheimer's disease start to affect the brain up to 10 years before any symptoms surface, leaving little if any time to save the brain once the symptoms do appear. This study gives doctors another tool to detect Alzheimer's before significant symptoms set in, giving patients a chance to start treatments and therapies sooner.
What are your thoughts on this?
Could spinal taps become a standard test as the technology improves? Would you get a spinal tap to predict Alzheimer's?
Read the study here.
Published On: August 12, 2010