Early Alzheimer's Detection Possible With New Blood Test

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A blood test could one day become available to check for the presence of Alzheimer’s disease, which give the clinicians the ability to treat the condition earlier than is possible today.

Robert Nagele, PhD, of the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford, N.J., and colleagues say that their research led to the development of a test that uses autoantibodies as blood-based biomarkers to detect not only the presence of Alzheimer’s, but how far along the disease has progressed.

With Alzheimer’s, the brain starts changing years before symptoms become apparent. Detecting Alzheimer's antibodies at the preclinical stage would give patients the ability to make lifestyle changes or receive available treatments before they become symptomatic, Nagele said. It also holds the potential of aiding those with preclinical Alzheimer's avoid or delay the most serious symptoms.

The test, details of which were presented Oct. 18 at OMED 15, the American Osteopathic Association’s annual conference in Orlando, also shows promise in detecting other diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and breast cancer.

“There are significant benefits to early disease detection because we now know that many of the same conditions that lead to vascular disease are also significant risk factors for Alzheimer’s,” Nagele said in a statement. “People found to have preclinical disease can take steps to improve their vascular health, including watching their diet, exercising and managing any weight and blood pressure issues to help stave off or slow disease progression,” Nagele said.

Early Alzheimer's Detection Possible With New Blood Test
The test uses autoantibodies as blood-based biomarkers to detect not only the presence of Alzheimer’s, but how far along the disease has progressed.

Researchers from the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine are nearing development of a blood test that can accurately detect the presence of Alzheimer's disease, which would give physicians an opportunity to intervene at the earliest, most treatable stage.

Robert Nagele, PhD, presented his team's most recent findings Oct. 18 at OMED 15 in Orlando. Nagele's work focuses on utilizing autoantibodies as blood-based biomarkers to accurately detect the presence of myriad diseases and pinpoint the stage to which a disease has progressed.

By detecting Alzheimer's disease long before symptoms emerge, Nagele hopes those with disease-related autoantibody biomarkers will be encouraged to make beneficial lifestyle changes that may help to slow development of the disease.

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