World’s first blood test for Alzheimer’s

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY STEPHANIE CHAO

Na­tional Tai­wan Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity ( NTNU, ) In­sti­tute of Elec­tro- op­ti­cal Science and Tech­nol­ogy ( ) re­searchers and Na­tional Tai­wan Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal’s ( NTUH,

) Neu­rol­ogy Depart­ment an­nounced the cre­ation of the world’s first blood test for Alzheimer’s dis­ease yes­ter­day at an aca­demic sym­po­sium.

The re­search team made up of NTNU’s chair pro­fes­sor Hung Heng- e ( ), as­so­ciate pro­fes­sors Hsieh Chen- chieh (

) and Liao Shu- hsien ( ), NTUH Neu­rol­ogy Depart­ment Dr. Chiu Ming- chang ( ) and other re­searchers, used Im­muoMag­netic Re­duc­tion ( IMR,

) tech­nol­ogy to cre- ate the blood test.

The test is said to be able to move up de­tec­tion of the dis­ease by at least eight to ten years, of­ten the ear­li­est stage of Alzheimer’s, which is the mild cog­ni­tive decline phase. It also re­ports an 85- per­cent ac­cu­racy and re­quires a short testing pro­ce­dure, at around 5 hours, the team said.

The re­search team de­signed the pathogen tests for the dis­ease with nano metal pow­der, and hopes to re­place the tra­di­tional in­va­sive testing method of col­lect­ing Cere­bral Spinal Fluid ( CSF). Nano metal pow­der as the chem­i­cal agent saves time and ef­fort, the team re­ported.

The cur­rent testing method for Alzheimer’s dis­ease re­quires tak­ing CSF, Hsieh said, point- ing out CSF col­lec­tion is a high­risk process, as it can pos­si­bly re­sult in paral­y­sis. It is also time con­sum­ing and usu­ally en­tails a week- long testing pro­ce­dure, ex­plained Hsieh.

Blood Test on Clin­i­cal Trial

Taida ( ) , Jen- ai ( ) , Shuang- he ( ) , and En Chu Kong ( ) hos­pi­tals are cur­rently con­duct­ing clin­i­cal trial use of the new blood test.

Chen Jui- hs­ing ( ) , direc­tor of Taipei City Hos­pi­tal Jen- ai Branch’s Neu­rol­ogy Depart­ment (

) , who par­tic­i­pated in the re­search, said that the pro­gram uses a nu­cle­onic method to de­tect whether a pa­tient’s blood con­tains cer­tain chem­i­cals that are of­ten used as in­di­ca­tors for

Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

Pos­si­ble Cat­a­lyst for

De­pres­sion?

The blood test is a break­through, as it can de­tect Alzheimer’s in its ear­li­est stages, yet early dis­cov­ery of the dis­ease has raised eth­i­cal de­bates in other coun­tries.

The big­gest ob­sta­cle for Alzheimer’s is in its treat­ment. If used cor­rectly, tests can dis­cover po­ten­tial signs for the dis­ease as early as eight to ten years be­fore it de­vel­ops into a more se­ri­ous form, Chen ex­plained.

“Pa­tients at this point are of­ten still work­ing, living a rel­a­tively nor­mal life. By know­ing they could pos­si­bly de­velop Alzheimer’s in ten years, the pa­tients could end up be­com­ing de­pressed in­stead” said Chen.

CNA

Na­tional Tai­wan Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity’s (NTNU, ) In­sti­tute of Elec­tro-op­ti­cal Science and Tech­nol­ogy ( ) as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Hsieh Chenchieh ( ) holds up a vial of blood dur­ing a press con­fer­ence, yes­ter­day. A team de­vel­oped what is known as Im­muoMag­netic Re­duc­tion (IMR,

) tech­nol­ogy and used it to de­sign a new blood test, which is said to be safer and more con­ve­nient than the clin­i­cal testing of cere­bral spinal fluid. The test is re­ported to be able to de­tect the early stages of Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

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