Scientists at University of Rochester, Georgetown University, and the University of California Irvine, have developed a simple blood test that can predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease up to three years before symptoms appear.
The test will allow patients to begin treatment options at a much earlier date, in the hopes of minimizing the symptoms of the degenerative disorder, which include short term memory loss, mood swings, dementia, and eventually death.
The blood test identifies 10 lipids in the blood that act as biomarkers of the disease. The inexpensive test is expected to become available in the next two years.
Neurologist Howard Federoff, senior author of the paper describing the test, told CNN "this is a potential game-changer."
Identifying Alzheimer’s earlier will not only help the patients, but will also aid researchers in studying the development of the disease, possibly leading to new treatments.
The paper was published this week in Nature Medicine.
Alzheimer's disease, also known as Alzheimer disease (and sometimes miscalled "Old-timer's Disease"), is the most common form of dementia. It was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906. Most commonly, Alzheimer's is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age, although the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer's can occur much earlier. In 2006, there were 26.6 million people worldwide with the disease. It is predicted that Alzheimer's will affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050. There is no cure.