Predicting Alzheimer’s Disease


Image courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Today the question of the day is whether or not you would like to know if you are going to develop Alzheimer’s Disease.

A collaborative work by research groups at the University of Rochester and Georgetown University was published in Nature Medicine earlier today.  In it they describe a new blood test that allowed them predict Alzheimer’s Disease with over 90% accuracy within a 2-3 year time frame.

So, the question is: would you like to know if you are going to have AD in 2 or 3 years?

Most people cringe at that thought, but the authors say they would definitely want to know the answer, even though there is no cure to the disease.  They say knowing it before one develops symptoms, allows the person to work on their relationships, spend more quality time with family and friends, plan the future and make sure the family is protected…

The test is not available to the public at the moment as further investigation is needed and it might take years before the test gets to the doctor’s office.  But it is clear that, if given the choice, the decision will be different for different people.  Surely, specific circumstances are going to affect it.  But also, in my opinion it comes to the question:

“How it will impact my life?”

If one can take the information in a constructive way and plan, live each day fully and mend important relationships – that’s great.  I wonder how many people could do that. 

Could you do it?
I would like to know your thoughts about this.  Please share your opinion in the comments below.


If you would like to know more about the study, here is an excerpt from the article:

Alzheimer’s disease causes a progressive dementia that currently affects over 35 million individuals worldwide and is expected to affect 115 million by 2050. There are no cures or disease-modifying therapies, and this may be due to our inability to detect the disease before it has progressed to produce evident memory loss and functional decline…

…Unfortunately, current biomarkers for early disease, including cerebrospinal fluid tau and amyloid-β levels, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging and the recent use of brain amyloid imaging or inflammaging, are limited because they are either invasive, time-consuming or expensive. Blood-based biomarkers may be a more attractive option, but none can currently detect preclinical Alzheimer’s disease with the required sensitivity and specificity.

Herein, we describe our lipidomic approach to detecting preclinical Alzheimer’s disease in a group of cognitively normal older adults. We discovered and validated a set of ten lipids from peripheral blood that predicted phenoconversion to either amnestic mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease within a 2–3 year timeframe with over 90% accuracy. This biomarker panel, reflecting cell membrane integrity, may be sensitive to early neurodegeneration of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.


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