New Blood Test Can Detect Alzheimer’s at an Early Stage
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease affecting about 5 million Americans. It causes problems on the person’s memory, ability to think, and behavior. It is also known as the most common form of dementia, a mental condition associated with memory loss and diminished intellectual abilities that interferes with how a person carry out his daily routine.
Alzheimer’s usually affects people who are 60 years old and up. The older you are, the greater your risk for the disease. But experts do not consider Alzheimer’s as a disease of old age. Some patients have early onset of the symptoms – some at their 50s, 40s even.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s may develop slowly but get worse over time. At first, you will only experience trouble remembering names or people you know, then, you will start forgetting how to do trivial tasks such as making the morning coffee, recognizing family members, or even reading and writing. Alzheimer’s is indeed a life-changing condition.
Detecting the Disease EarlyJust like any other condition, early detection is key to better management of Alzheimer’s. That’s why clinicians never stop working not just to find a cure for the disease but develop tools that will make early detection possible.
In January 2011 edition of Cell, a new diagnostic tool has been introduced as a conclusion of a study made at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida. This diagnostic tool in a form of a blood test may allow the doctors to detect Alzheimer’s earlier and more easily than in the past. According to the researchers, a laboratory-developed peptoid molecule could accurately screen for antibodies that are specific to the disease.
The original study was only done to six patients but it has since been used as a diagnostic procedure not just to test for Alzheimer’s but also for other cognitive impairment, which could be a precursor to the disease.
One of the researchers, Thomas Kodadek said that the study was done to help pharmaceutical companies develop strategies in battling the disease effectively. Kodadek and his team licensed the technology to a Miami-based company - OPKO Health Inc. - to develop diagnostic kits, which will be made available before the end of the year.