Belgian researchers have found a new test that could unlock or at least ease the path to unlocking the enigma behind Alzheimer’s disease. They found that by measuring the amount of certain proteins in one’s spinal fluid they could see if someone has the disease. They can see current diseases that have the ability to grow into Alzheimer’s and detect such problems early.
The disease, that affects 26 million people worldwide, can currently only be confirmed by a brain biopsy by which time it is usually too late for patients. This new test however will allow doctors to know about the disease even before the patient begins to show symptoms.
Geert De Meyer, of Ghent University in Belgium, and his team correctly identified each person with memory impairments that would lead to Alzheimer’s within the next five years, and identified Alzheimer proteins in 36 percent of healthy people. They also detected the disease in 90% of people who had it.
“The most significant finding is that they can take a pre-Alzheimer’s, approaching Alzheimer’s set of people and they can select which ones from these tests are going to go on to get Alzheimer’s and the relatively smaller number which may not go on to get Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Jack Diamond, scientific director of the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.
The most significance of this research was stated by Alzheimer’s researcher Dr. Samuel Gandy of Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York who said, “For the next five years, and maybe longer, our best predictions will be for people who are already showing pretty obvious memory problems.” He was not involved in the study.