The experimental blood test turned out to be very accurate in detecting Alzheimer’s disease, scientists said on Tuesday – a promising breakthrough that could make the diagnosis simple, accessible and widely available.
The test was able to determine whether people with dementia have Alzheimer’s disease instead of another condition, according to the New York Times. He also identified Alzheimer’s symptoms 20 years before memory and thinking problems were expected in people with a genetic mutation that causes a degenerative, deadly disease, the report said.
“This blood test very, very accurately predicts who has Alzheimer’s disease in the brain, including people who seem normal,”; said Dr. Michael Weiner, an Alzheimer’s disease researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.
The study was published in the JAMA Network Open and presented at the International Conference of the Alzheimer’s Association.
A blood test – performed just as accurately as more invasive methods such as brain MRI, PET and spinal taps – provides a much simpler and more accessible way to diagnose whether people with cognitive problems have Alzheimer’s than other types of dementia.
Such a blood test can also be used to predict whether someone without symptoms can develop the disease, according to The Times.
“It’s not a cure, it’s not a cure, but you can’t cure a disease without being able to diagnose it. And an accurate, inexpensive diagnosis is really exciting, so it’s a breakthrough,” said Weiner, who was not involved in the study.
The tests may be available for clinical use in just two to three years, experts say.
Nearly six million people in the United States and about 30 million worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease. The population is expected to increase with age by 2050, according to the report.