New Blood Test Can Help Identify Patients At Risk For Alzheimer’s

Doctors and researchers have long been searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s. While no cure has been discovered, there have been improvements made to the treatments available. Now a blood test can be run to identify proteins that build up in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s nearly 20 years before the disease is diagnosed.

New Blood Test May Help Identify Alzheimer’s Before Symptoms Begin

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine (WUSTL) in St. Louis, MO, recently published their findings after completing a study involving two forms of a protein: beta-amyloid 42 and beta-amyloid 40. Both of these forms build up in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients and are generally identified after symptoms have occurred, using a PET scan. 

The research showed that when using the blood test in conjunction with age and genetic identifiers, the Alzeheimer’s testing was extremely accurate. 

Why Is Early Detection Important For Alzheimer’s? 

When Alzheimer’s is detected early, there are great benefits.

Medical Benefits

Some medications for Alzheimer’s can slow the progression of the disease and help with memory loss for a short period of time. The sooner these medications are started, the better. Additionally, new medical trials are created all the time, trials that could one day result in a cure for the disease. If the disease has progressed too far, the patient may not be eligible for the trial. 

Emotional Benefits

You and your loved ones can learn about the disease, choose treatment options that are best for you, and maximize your time together. 

Ten Signs Of Early Alzheimer’s

The following could be the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

Memory Loss That Is Severe Enough To Disrupt Your Day 

Everyone can be forgetful and when you are stressed or haven’t gotten enough sleep, forgetfulness can increase. But when someone constantly forgets newly learned information and has to ask for that information over and over and over again, it could be a warning sign.

A Change In Problem Solving

If you or a loved one find that you are suddenly unable to work with numbers or problem solve in a way that used to be relatively simple, this could be a symptom of Alzheimer’s. 

Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks

It doesn’t matter if it’s at home or work – if there is a task that you or a loved one have been able to regularly complete without difficulty but now struggle to finish, let your doctor know. 

Confusion About Time And Location 

During a busy week, it’s normal to ask “What day is it?” when everything seems to flow together. Those with Alzheimer’s may not know the day, year, or even if it’s morning or evening. 

Issues With Speaking Or Writing

Difficulty joining a conversation, speaking, or writing down thoughts can all be symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Losing a train of thought regularly in the middle of a sentence or conversation is common. 

Losing Items 

Misplacing items or putting those items in unusual places occurs frequently in Alzheimer’s patients. For example, finding car keys in the fridge or a shoe in the bread box. 

Difficulty With Spatial Relationships

Commonly misdiagnosed as a visual issue, Alzheimer’s can cause difficulty with seeing colors and judging the distance between objects. 

Poor Judgement 

This is a very generic symptom and can be difficult to spot, but if you notice a loved one suddenly making poor financial choices or personal choices, this could be a symptom of the disease. 

A Withdraw From Social Life 

If it becomes difficult to see, communicate, or complete a task, a withdrawal from social life is common. Many Alzheimer’s patients know something is wrong but they aren’t sure what. 

Mood Changes

Everyone has a bad day but if you notice extreme personality or mood change this could mean the disease is progressing. 

If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s be sure to let your doctor know. By keeping one step ahead of the disease you could live a longer and healthier life thanks to changes in medicine.