Blood test for Alzheimer’s

‘The Herald (South Africa)’ – 2014-03-11
RESEARCHERS in the United States have developed a prototype blood test that can tell with 90% accuracy whether a healthy person will develop Alzheimer’s disease within three years.
The test looks for 10 signatures of fatty proteins called lipids, according to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine.
It could help families of people developing the cognitive disorder make early decisions on how best to care for them and might also aid the search for treatment, the authors said.
Several years of clinical trials are likely to be needed to assess the prototype technique, the first blood biomarker to predict the tragic degenerative disease. Alzheimer’s, caused by toxic proteins that destroy brain cells, is an incurable and fatal degenerative disease.
About 35 million people have the disease, a tally that is expected to reach 115 million people by 2050, according to the World Health Organisation.
“Our novel blood test offers the potential to identify people at risk for progressive cognitive decline and can change how patients, their families and treating physicians plan for and manage the disorder,” Howard Federoff, a professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington, said.
Attempts to develop drugs for Alzheimer’s had failed, possibly because they were tested when the disease had progressed too far, Federoff said. – AFP

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