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New test to predict who will develop Alzheimer's disease

Updated: 03/10/2014 5:50 PM
Created: 03/10/2014 6:34 AM WHEC.com
By: Janet Lomax

There is new hope tonight in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and it comes from work done in part at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Researchers say they've found the first accurate blood test that can predict who is at risk for developing the disease.

There are an estimated five million people in this country with Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow, reaching 14 million by the year 2050. Experts call it the “silver tsunami”, made up of aging baby boomers.

Right now, there is no accurate way to predict who is at risk. Research done at the University of Rochester and Georgetown University could reverse that.

Dr. Mark Mapstone, Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine, says they've come up with a blood test that is 90% accurate after finding ten specific lipids in the blood plasma.

Dr. Mark Mapstone said, “We were able to determine some molecules in the blood of people who are going to develop Alzheimer’s disease.”

Over a five year period, they followed more than 500 people, 425 of them from the Rochester area, seniors who did not exhibit any signs of Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Mapstone said, “What that means is before the symptoms began, we were able to find molecules in the blood that are able to tell us who is going to get the disease and who wasn't.”

Dr. Mapstone says they are excited about their findings. But at this point, there is no test that you can go to a doctor and ask for. Dr. Mapstone says maybe in two years, maybe even more. In the meantime, he says more samples need to be done in a broader cross section of people around the country.  If the blood tests show they will get Alzheimer’s, they can enroll them in trials to see what drugs work so that early intervention can begin.

Dr. Mapstone calls the results gratifying and says this new blood test will help them find real treatments in the next five to 10 years for Alzheimer’s. The study is published in the Journal of Natural Medicines.





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