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Can A Blood Test Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Elevated Levels Detected Long Before Symptoms Appeared

Blood test may soon be able to detect Alzheimer’s disease early on

The disease is a consequence of high levels of amyloid and tau proteins in the brain.

The researchers took blood samples from 1,100 Swedish inhabitants over a number of years. They used their test to measure the presence of phosphorylated tau protein .

They then compared these blood tests with individuals who were subsequently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The test revealed a strong link between elevated levels of this specific tau protein in the blood and the loss of nerve cells and impaired cognitive ability in Alzheimer’s disease several years later.

Scientists Close In On Simple Blood Test To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Even in the prime of our lives, while still healthy and clever, our brains may be secretly developing the deadly plaques and tangles of Alzheimers disease. The first sign of trouble is memory loss and, by then, damage is done.

But innovative new blood tests can now detect these hidden signs of disease, years before the onset of heartbreaking symptoms.

The tests are not yet recommended for widespread screening of the general public, because improvements are needed. But newly released data about the first FDA-approved version, by C2N Diagnostics, shows that its 81% accurate in identifying levels of a brain protein that is a hallmark sign of Alzheimers disease. For the first time, the test is being used in a major National Institutes of Health-funded drug study at 75 medical centers.

When is the best time to put out a fire? When it starts, said Dr. Julio Rojas-Martinez of UC San Franciscos Memory and Aging Center, which is using the test to identify people as young as 55 to participate in NIHs AHEAD study, aimed at finding drugs to delay memory loss before symptoms begin.

Once refined and more widely available, he said, these blood tests will be revolutionary, in that we will be able to detect whos at risk. While current drugs can only delay cognitive decline, not prevent it, this would enable people to enroll in research trials as early as possible.

Memory loss appears after once-healthy brain cells stop functioning, lose connections and die.

Early Detection Is Vital In Alzheimers

Importantly, the researchers initially flagged some participants blood test results as false positives because their PET scans were negative, and so the results did not match.

When the researchers followed up a few years later, however, they found that some of these individuals had since had positive test results on later brain scans.

This finding suggests that some of the early blood tests were more sensitive than the brain scans in detecting the disease in its very early stages.

Alzheimers disease is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that causes memory problems, which become severe over time. A gradual reduction in thinking skills usually accompanies this symptom.

People with the disease eventually lose the ability to perform their daily tasks, and Alzheimers currently ranks as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Alzheimers disease develops as a result of progressive changes in the brain. Before noticeable symptoms appear, a buildup of proteins creates amyloid plaques and tau tangles, both of which lead to serious issues for neurons.

Slowly, these brain cells lose connections with each other and eventually die.

Early symptoms of Alzheimers include memory problems that begin to interfere with normal function. Sometimes, those with early Alzheimers also have movement difficulties and an altered sense of smell.

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Simple Blood Test May Be Able To Diagnose Alzheimers Disease

A simple blood test may soon be able to diagnose patients with two common forms of dementia Alzheimers disease and frontotemporal dementia and tell the two apart.

Researchers at UC San Francisco analyzed the blood test in more than 300 patients and say they hope to see such a test available in doctors offices within five years.

This test could eventually be deployed in a primary care setting for people with memory concerns to identify who should be referred to specialized centers to participate in clinical trials or to be treated with new Alzheimers therapies, once they are approved, said Adam Boxer, MD, PhD, neurologist at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and senior author of the study published in Nature Medicine. Boxer also is affiliated with the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences.

No blood test currently exists for either condition. Alzheimers diagnoses can only be confirmed by a PET scan of the brain, which can be costly, or an invasive lumbar puncture to test cerebrospinal fluid.

If approved, the new blood test could ease screening and help increase the number of patients eligible for clinical trials, which are essential to the search for drugs to stop or slow dementia. Patients who know whether they have Alzheimers or FTD are also better able to manage their symptoms, which may differ between the two conditions.

Adam Boxer, MD, PhD

The Hunt For A Simple Blood Test To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Blood Test That Can Detect Alzheimers Disease Now ...

Even in the prime of our lives, while still healthy and clever, our brains may be secretly developing the deadly plaques and tangles of Alzheimer’s disease. The first sign of trouble is memory lossand, by then, damage is done.

But innovative new blood tests can now detect these hidden signs of disease, years before the onset of heartbreaking symptoms.

The tests are not yet recommended for widespread screening of the general public, because improvements are needed. But newly released data about the first FDA-approved version by C2N Diagnostics, shows that it’s 81% accurate in identifying levels of a brain protein that is a hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s disease. For the first time, the test is being used in a major National Institutes of Health-funded drug study at 75 medical centers.

“When is the best time to put out a fire? When it starts,” said Dr. Julio Rojas-Martinez of UC San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center, which is using the test to identify people as young as 55 to participate in NIH’s AHEAD study, aimed at finding drugs to delay memory loss before symptoms begin.

Once refined and more widely available, he said, these blood tests “will be revolutionary, in that we will be able to detect who’s at risk.” While current drugs can only delay cognitive decline, not prevent it, this would enable people to enroll in research trials as early as possible.

Memory loss appears after once-healthy brain cells stop functioning, lose connections and die.

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Brief Introduction To Blood Test For Dementia

Research by scientists in Australia and Japan indicates that a simple blood test will be all that is needed to detect a person who is at risk of developing Alzheimers.

It will be possible to get a diagnosis for Alzheimers in a doctors office without having to go through expensive and invasive procedures.

Doctors will use blood samples to detect the early signs of the illness. A blood test HAS ALREADY BEEN DEVELOPED by C2N Diagnostics in St. Loius, Mo.

This will mainly be used for persons in the US as a routine lab test.

The blood test is regulated under the CLIA program from CMS.

For now, the FDA has not yet approved these blood tests. Interested parties can only take the test through a doctor.

If the company wishes, it can sell the rest under commercial laboratories rules. C2N has said that there are plans for the FDA to review this test in 2021.

Alzheimers Association stated that it will only endorse this test after the FDA has approved it.

Laboratory tests

The lab test has also received a CE mark implying it can be used as a diagnostic medical device in the European Union. It has met the health, safety, and environmental protection standards for the region.

Michelle Mielke an epidemiologist and neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic expressed her delight in the new development saying that the INNOVATIVE blood-based test for Alzheimers is phenomenal.

She explained that the field for very long has been thinking about such an invention. It has finally come to pass.

Whats Next For Alzheimers Blood Tests

Dont get too excited yet: Clinical studies of the 19 plasma protein test will have to be replicated to validate its performance and clinical value in other populations.

Still, Ip and her colleagues hope that this blood test becomes a routine clinical test for aged individuals to achieve early screening and diagnosis of AD.

Since the test only requires a small volume of blood , the researchers are considering the possibility of self-testing: obtaining a blood sample from pricking your fingertip and sending it off to the lab. Optimizing the process of sample collection may eventually enable self-testing.

However, Ip suggests that self-testing may be some way off, due to concerns about obtaining a sterile blood sample.

Ip said the findings go beyond just the development of a high-performance, blood-based clinical Alzheimers test: This research also identifies new protein targets for Alzheimers, setting the stage for the development of new therapeutics in the future.

The new blood plasma test is only one of many that will debut in the coming few years. So far, the only commercially available test is C2N Diagnostics PrecivityAD, available in every U.S. state except New York, as well as Puerto Rico.

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Potential New Blood Test In Alzheimers Disease Could Advance Treatment

Experts describe a method that could be used to spot the complex brain disease.

Since its discovery, Alzheimers disease has been a challenge to test for and predict in patients. Currently, testing is primarily done through brain imaging and behavioral tests, which are costly and often fail to detect the disease in its earliest stages.

However, research presented at the last Alzheimers Association International Conference show a promising blood test that may detect Alzheimers before symptoms appear, in an affordable and accessible manner.

Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D, professor of neurology and director of the Michigan Alzheimers Disease Center andNicholas M. Kanaan, Ph.D., associate professor of translational neuroscience at Michigan State University, joined forces to share their opinions on what this development could mean for the future of Alzheimers testing. Paulson directs the statewide Michigan Alzheimers Disease Research Center, while Kanaan leads the centers biomarker core.

A Blood Test For Alzheimer’s Markers For Tau Take Us A Step Closer

Breakthrough blood test can detect Alzheimer’s early

CHICAGO, JULY 28, 2020 A simple blood test for Alzheimerâs would be a great advance for individuals with â and at risk for â the disease, families, doctors and researchers.

At the Alzheimerâs Association International Conference® 2020, scientists reported results of multiple studies on advances in blood âtestsâ for abnormal versions of the tau protein, one of which may be able to detect changes in the brain 20 years before dementia symptoms occur. In particular, the reports focus on a specific form of tau known as p-tau217, which seems to be the most specific to Alzheimerâs and the earliest to show measurable changes.

Changes in brain proteins amyloid and tau, and their formation into clumps known as plaques and tangles, respectively, are defining physical features of Alzheimerâs disease in the brain. Buildup of tau tangles is thought to correlate closely with cognitive decline. In these newly reported results, blood/plasma levels of p-tau 217, one of the forms of tau found in tangles, also seem to correlate closely with buildup of amyloid.

Currently, the brain changes that occur before Alzheimerâs dementia symptoms appear can only be reliably assessed by positron-emission tomography scans, and from measuring amyloid and tau proteins in spinal fluid . These methods are expensive and invasive. And, too often, they are unavailable because they are not covered by insurance or difficult to access, or both.

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How The New Blood Test Works

PrecivityAD is the first test to detect Alzheimer’s to become available in clinics. The test is not covered by insurance or Medicare, but at $1,250, the cost is slightly lower than imaging tests like PET scans. CN Diagnostics, the company behind the test, also offers a financial assistance program to patients based on income.

CN Diagnostics co-founder and neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis, David Holtzman, MD, tells Verywell that the test does not diagnose AD but, rather, it predicts which patients may or may not have amyloid accumulation in the brain.

To determine the likelihood of this buildup, the test looks at the patients age and measures two forms of beta-amyloid: A42, and A40. It also checks for a protein called ApoE, a well-known risk factor for Alzheimers.

If the number is abnormal it would indicate that you have amyloid in the brain, meaning its likely that your cognitive impairments are due to AD,” Holtzman says. “It doesnt prove it it suggests that thats likely the cause. If it’s negative, it would indicate that its likely that your cognitive impairment is not due to AD.

The test is only for patients over the age of 60 who are experiencing cognitive impairment symptoms. Clinicians can order the test for patients, but it is not available for consumers to purchase directly.

More Data On Accuracy

Some critics also cite another drawbackthe fact that CN Diagnostics has yet to publish any data on the tests accuracy. Instead, the company points to the results of a study that compared the test to PET scans of 686 participants between the ages of 60 and 90 with cognitive impairments or dementia. When a PET scan showed amyloid buildup, the PrecivityAD blood test also provided a high probability of amyloid buildup in 92% of cases.

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Reasons The Blood Test For Dementia Is Important

When compared to the difficult and invasive procedures, the blood test for dementia, opens up more exciting possibilities.

Not only for clinical use but therapeutic development explains Adam Boxer a neurologist who works at the University of California, San Francisco.

Blood tests are also very convenient. They can be collected in a persons home or REMOTE LOCATIONS.

While there is still no medication for Alzheimers and other types of dementia, early tests that are readily available can enhance treatment.

They can allow affected persons to take appropriate measures to stay healthy, participate in clinical trials, and plan for their future.

Blood tests are also important because they can help identify the people who are at risk of developing the disease explains Mielke.

The rest can also be used to screen potential participants who can benefit from experimental drugs.

Elisabeth Thijssen a researcher studying blood biomarkers for Alzheimers at Amsterdam University Medical Centers in the Netherlands said that affordable blood tests can also lower the cost of clinical trials which will give an opportunity for potential treatments to be tested.

This can increase the chance of finally landing a cure.

Alzheimers / Dementia Testing Alternatives

Blood test to detect Alzheimers disease

Despite the lack of an FDA-approved blood test, families who suspect their loved one may have Alzheimers have a well-trod, if meandering, path to a diagnosis. To begin the process, there are online tests for Alzheimers that can be downloaded, printed, completed and taken to your doctor, and even some interactive tests that might provide immediate results. However, these online tests do not actually test for Alzheimers or dementia. Instead, they offer families answers to these questions: Are my concerns about my loved one justified?Is this just normal aging or is there something more going on? Officially, the tests are looking for Mild Cognitive Impairment . These tests are not definitive, but they can help a family figure out what their next step should be.

If a doctor suspects a patient may have Alzheimers, there are more definitive approaches. Brain scans and tests on extracted spinal fluid when coupled with multiple physicians consultations can make a diagnosis of Alzheimers with upwards of 90 percent accuracy. Families should expect their loved one to be evaluated by a neurologist, a psychiatrist, and very likely a psychologist as well. Since Alzheimers is so common among the elderly, a diagnosis is less about finding a condition which fits and more about eliminating other possibilities.

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Could This Potential Blood Test Help With Accessibility To Testing And Treatment

Kanaan: Yes, the emerging blood tests are highly accessible in a clinical research setting, like the Michigan Alzheimers Disease Research Center, today. Whether blood tests such as these become a component of standard clinical practice for dementia management will require additional development and testing, but this is certainly one of the main directions in which we and others are moving.

The continuing enrichment of the biomarker toolkit for clinicians and scientists will ultimately provide several useful advantages to clinical care for dementia. Among these advantages: it will facilitate better clinical trials, monitoring of therapeutic efficacy and may even identify important biological processes involved in brain diseases.

How Effective Is The Blood Test

C2N reported that they used the Preclivity AD on 168 people. They then compared the results with those of PET scans.

When PET scans showed high amounts of amyloid-beta the blood test agreed 92% of the time.

If there was no amyloid shown after a PET scan, the blood test also gave similar results 77% of the time.

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Blood Test Detects Early Onset Of Alzheimers

This year has seen the development of a few types of blood tests that could potentially diagnose Alzheimers before symptoms appear. One test uses fats in the bloodstream to predict the disease within three years with 90% accuracy, while the other blood test examined blood proteins and was able to predict the onset of dementia within a year with 87% accuracy.

The most recent test promises to detect Alzheimers earlier than any other test ever has by looking at a single protein in the brain called IRS-1, which plays a critical role in insulin signaling in the brain and is commonly defective in people with the disease.

Researchers from the National Institute on Aging, who presented the study at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington, D.C., gathered blood samples from 174 participants. Of the 174 participants, 70 had Alzheimers, 20 had diabetes and 84 were healthy. They found that the participants who had Alzheimers had higher amounts of the inactive form of IRS-1 and lower amounts of the active form than those adults who were healthy. The participants who were diabetic had intermediate levels of IRS-1.

The results of the study were so consistent across the board that researchers were able to look at results and predict with 100% accuracy if the person was healthy or had Alzheimers.

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