Researchers believe that a blood test may be the simple solution to finding out if a person is predisposed to getting Alzheimer’s disease. There are many findings out there to suggest that this may be a breakthrough discovery, but there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s. Research proves that Alzheimer’s can be detected up to ten years before a person even shows symptoms of the disease. This is an ongoing discovery that hopefully in the near future will be able to slow the progression or cure the disease all together. With all the new discoveries this is very likely to be the case. Many attempts have been made to produce a medicine that may slow the progression, but have failed, mainly because scientists may be testing too late into a person’s life. The only 100% accurate way to diagnose Alzheimer’s is after the person has already passed away. Researchers hope to find a cure for the disease, as it affects many people and their families.
Pre-testing for Alzheimer’s: Is This the Future for a Cure?Alzheimer’s disease is an untreatable, unpreventable disorder that leads to one of the lowest forms of quality of life. This disease causes an inadequate use of cognitive functions, such as, reasoning, thinking, and remembering. It interferes with a person’s daily life and simple daily activities. It gradually gets worse over time. There are three stages in the progression of Alzheimer’s: preclinical, in which the person has no signs or symptoms, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia. It is estimated that five million Americans over the age of sixty-five will have Alzheimer’s in 2014 (Alzhiemer's Association, 2014, para. 1). According to the Alzheimer’s Association (2014), “More than 500,000 seniors die each year because they have Alzheimer's. If Alzheimer's was eliminated, half a million lives would be saved a year” (para. 4). The number of people with the disease will increase, unless the disease can be effectively prevented or treated. Current clinical trials are striving to find effective pre-Alzheimer’s disease tests because this disease affects the fastest-growing age group. However, there are people who believe that these pre-screening methods are not reliable.
Ability to detect Alzheimer’s in preclinical stages is the key
Researchers have classified ten proteins in the blood that may determine if a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease. It is one of the largest studies of Alzheimer’s involving over 1,000 participants. According to Catherine Paddock, PhD (2014), a new study (led by King's College London in the UK and the British company Proteome Sciences) suggests, “For this latest study, the team analyzed blood sample results from a total of 1,148 individuals: 476 with Alzheimer's, 220 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 452 elderly people without dementia”( para. 9). They analyzed a total of twenty-six proteins in the blood samples and found that sixteen were strongly linked to brain shrinkage in the MCI and Alzheimer’s groups. There are a combination of ten different proteins predicting the progression of MCI to Alzheimer’s within a year. There was an 87% accuracy rate (Paddock, 2014, para. 11). Lead author Dr. Abdul Hye (2014), of King’s Institute of Psychiatry states, "We now have a set of 10 proteins that can predict whether someone with early symptoms of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment, will develop Alzheimer's disease within a year, with a high level of accuracy" (para. 12). Simon Lovestone, a professor at the University of Oxford, believes that Alzheimer’s affects the brain many years before a patient may be diagnosed. He also supposes that a blood test could identify patients with Alzheimer’s at an earlier stage, and be willing to participate in new trials to develop beneficial treatments which could hopefully prevent progression of the disease. He states that by the time patients with Alzheimer’s are