News / USA

Blood Test Predicts Alzheimer’s Disease

FILE - Lab research analyst does research relating to a new blood test. Researchers have developed a blood test that predicts Alzheimer's disease.
FILE - Lab research analyst does research relating to a new blood test. Researchers have developed a blood test that predicts Alzheimer's disease.
Jessica Berman
Scientists have developed a blood test that can predict, with great accuracy, whether someone will develop Alzheimer’s disease. The test could someday help researchers develop drugs for the degenerative brain disorder.

There are no effective drugs to treat Alzheimer's.  And the only way to positively diagnose someone with the disease is to use expensive, high tech brain imaging.  A blood test would make diagnosis much easier.

Researchers analyzed blood samples from 525 people, aged 70 and older.  Some of the participants had no signs of cognitive impairment.  Others had memory difficulties, but no official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Investigators measured the levels of more than 140 lipids or fats in the blood, identifying 10 that were altered in participants who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease five years later.

Neuropsychologist Mark Mapstone, of the University of Rochester in New York, participated in the research led by scientists at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Dr. Mapstone said the lipid levels, which were lower in people who developed the brain disorder, were highly predictive of Alzheimer's.

“The biomarker[s] were able to detect at 90 percent accuracy those who would go on to develop the disease.  But it is possible that some of these lipids are changed in other diseases.  And we have not done that work and it needs to be done.”

For example, diabetes is common among older people, and other research has linked the metabolic disorder to an increased risk of dementia.

Dr. Mapstone said it will be a while before an Alzheimer’s screening test is available to the public.  He said researchers want to look for a connection between the biomarkers and what happens in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

When the test does becomes available, Mapstone said people might want to take it to help them plan their financial future and investigate long-term care options ... if its results point to Alzheimer's.  

“But without a treatment, the utility of this information is lower.  When we have a treatment, then this particular sort of test will become very important because then we can use it to identify the people who get the treatment right away and hopefully we can do something about the disease,” he stated.

Dr. Mapstone said researchers developed the test with an eye toward finding and testing new drugs for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid