Sim­ple blood test de­tects Alzheimer’s

The Covington News - - Health & Wellness -

Ac­cord­ing to the ar­ti­cle “Clas­si­fi­ca­tion and pre­dic­tion of Clin­i­cal Alzheimer’s Di­ag­no­sis Based on Plasma Sig­nal­ing Pro­teins,” pub­lished in the Oct. 14, 2007, is­sue of “Na­ture Medicine,” re­searchers at Stan­ford Univer­sity have de­vel­oped a blood test that shows prom­ise for de­tect­ing with a high de­gree of ac­cu­racy who cur­rently has and who is most at risk for get­ting Alzheimer’s.

In a ret­ro­spec­tive study, Stan­ford re­searchers col­lected more than 200 stored blood sam­ples taken from peo­ple with no cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment, mild cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment and Alzheimer’s dis­ease. One hun­dred and twenty pro­teins in the blood sam­ples were an­a­lyzed and a dis­tinc­tive pat­tern of 18 pro­teins was found to be use­ful in iden­ti­fy­ing the peo­ple with Alzheimer’s. The pro­teins reg­u­late nor­mal func­tions, such as in­flam­ma­tion, that ex­perts think may go awry in Alzheimer’s.

Next, re­searchers in­ves­ti­gated whether the pro­teins could be used to dis­tin­guish peo­ple with Alzheimer’s or at risk for it in a batch of “ blinded” blood sam­ples where the di­ag­no­sis was not known un­til af­ter re­searchers’ pre­dic­tions were made. The 18-pro­tein sig­na­ture proved to be 89 per­cent ac­cu­rate in dis­tin­guish­ing those with Alzheimer’s from those with­out, and about 82 per­cent ac­cu­rate in pre­dict­ing which of those with mild cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment would go on to de­velop Alzheimer’s.

Clearly, the re­sults from this blood test ex­per­i­ment must be val­i­dated in other stud­ies and by other re­searchers be­fore its true pre­dic­tive power is known.

How­ever, this is par­tic­u­larly en­cour­ag­ing be­cause fore­warned is fore­armed: early in­ter­ven­tion on psy­cho­log­i­cal, be­hav­ioral and med­i­cal fronts may pro­long qual­ity of life through de­lay of on­set and re­duc­tion of early symp­tom sever­ity.

Peggy Nolen is a li­censed pro­fes­sional coun­selor in Cov­ing­ton. lShe spe­cial­izes in re­cov­ery from trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence, prob­lems with drugs and al­co­hol, anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. She can be reached at (770) 314-5924.

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