Scientists have reached one of their oldest goals: a blood test that can see if people have possible signs of the Alzheimer’s disease and any other form of dementia. A team of researchers has given us new results on different experimental tests, including one that is about 88% accurate when it comes to finding Alzheimer’s risk.
Why are these tests so necessary?
Doctors hope that they can use these tests during routine exams, where most of the dementia symptoms are evaluated. They want to do it to see if patients need extensive testing. What we have now, such as brain scans and spinal fluid tests, are quite expensive and too impractical for the regular check-ups. They need something quicker – it doesn’t have to be perfect to be a useful tool for screening, as said by Maria Carrillo, who is the Alzheimer’s Association’s chief science officer.
Dr. Richard Hodes said that the new results are quite promising, and blood tests will soon be used to monitor people for the federally funded studies. However, it might take a little longer to see how valuable they are in routine medical care. In the past few years, we’ve seen an acceleration in progress when it came to these tests. The pace was faster than any of the doctors would have expected.
An example is the case of Tom Doyle, who is a 66-year-old former university professor. He started to have memory problems four years ago, and ever since, he had two spinal fluid tests. At first, he was told he didn’t have Alzheimer’s, and then he was told that he did have it. Later he was diagnosed with different problems, Lewy body dementia with Parkinson’s. If they had this blood test, they probably could have diagnosed him years ago – with a proper diagnosis.