Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that affects 5.1 million people in the United States. Those who suffer with it often face years of cognitive decline that renders them completely reliant on their family and healthcare workers. New research out of the King’s College London has rendered a blood test that could aid in the early detection of Alzheimer’s, which could serve to improve the lives of millions of people in America alone.
Published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the study reports having identified 10 proteins that could greatly aid in early detection. Previous research had pinpointed 26 proteins related to Alzheimer’s development, but researchers for this study were able to narrow it down. Studying 1,100 people, researchers found that 16 proteins were the most closely related to mild cognitive decline and 10 of these could be used to determine the progression from mild cognitive decline to Alzheimer’s with 87 percent accuracy.
The early detection of Alzheimer’s using this new blood test could mean that patients could receive treatment before they began showing symptoms. Early detection is always the best approach to treating diseases, and Alzheimer’s in particular is not easily aided by medication once symptoms present themselves.
Early detection will be especially beneficial as the population of “baby boomers” continues to age. It is predicted that by the year 2050, the number of Alzheimer’s patients will triple. Early detection and treatment could help to offset the costs of healthcare, which is already estimated to cost around $215 billion dollars in the United States when combined with other forms of dementia.