Blood test for Alzheimer's coming soon
A team of German researchers may have successfully created a blood test that can accurately diagnose Alzheimer's disease. According to a report published in the journal Genome Biology, the test could allow doctors to definitively confirm that person has Alzheimer’s much earlier in the progression of the disease. Currently, it can be diagnosed with certainty only through an autopsy once a person dies.
In addition, the test was able to differentiate between Alzheimer's and other brain disorders. Alzheimer's and similar conditions have unique microRNA signatures, which can be found in a patient's blood. The team tested for a 12 microRNA "panel" associated with the disease in 48 people believed to have Alzheimer's and in 22 healthy people. The blood test was then expanded to 202 people, which included Alzheimer's patients, healthy participants and people with other neurological and neurodegenerative disorders and it was able to reliably distinguish people with Alzheimer's from the healthy patients and from the other conditions.
The new test was found to be 95 percent accurate in identifying people with Alzheimer’s and 92 percent accurate in identifying people without it. The study authors did acknowledge that while their blood test shows a great deal of promise, it still needs to be validated for clinical use, and may eventually work best when combined with other diagnostic tools, such as imaging.
But they do believe it could be a breakthrough in better understanding and treating the disease.