A new research on Alzheimer's has paved a way on the development of a blood test that can detect the presence of the disease. Researchers from the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine proposed another novel method for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's so as to provide proper treatments before its likely onset.
There has been no blood test for Alzheimer's disease approved to date by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Having affected nearly 5.3 million Americans, the disease is considered one of the leading causes of death in the US, reports say.
Robert Nagele, Ph.D., presenter of the latest findings at the Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exposition (OMED 15) in Orlando, has worked on autoanitibodies as primary biomarkers to indicate the presence of a disease and its stage. He foresees the benefit of early Alzheimer's disease detection as it can help patients make lifestyle changes or acquire treatments at the earliest in order to prevent or slow down its progression.
As Alzheimer's is linked to other conditions that cause vascular problems, necessary changes in the lifestyle would include proper food menu, exercise, and weight management, says Nagele in the press release. Although the primary cause of this neurodegenerative disease is still unclear, it may be beneficial if one maintains a healthy blood-brain barrier. Blood vessels become more prone to damage as people age, and this may cause the autoantibodies to leak out and potentially bind to brain neurons to form aggregates. These plaques, which they called as beta amyloid deposits, destroy nerve cells which then eventually results to Alzheimer's.
Medical News Today writes that a person's autoantibody profile depends on age, gender, and other factors. Diseases like Alzheimer's bring about characteristic changes in autoantibody profiles These profiles are what this novel test tries to screen, which when detected, may help doctors assess if their patients already suffer from Alzheimer's or likely so in the near future.
The blood test developed by Dr. Nagele has also shown promising results in the detection of other diseases such as Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and breast cancer.
Jennifer Caudle, assistant professor of family medicine at Rowan Unversity, says that they constantly inform their patients that a healthy lifestyle is the best medicine for preventing diseases. However, most people just tend to neglect their advice of healthy living until they start to suffer a health crisis.
"I can't think of a single patient who wouldn't take steps to prevent the progression of Alzheimer's if they could directly affect their prognosis," Caudle added.
The study was released by the American Osteopathic Association.