[This abstract first appeared in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter RWHT Volume 1 Issue 3 October 2010].
Testing for biomarkers in the blood could help to more accurately diagnose people with Alzheimer’s disease. The biomarker risk score had a sensitivity and specificity of 0.80 and 0.91 respectively, in detecting Alzheimer’s disease.
Up until now, it has only been possible to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease by using psychological assessments, and even then with limited accuracy. Analysis of proteins in the blood was found to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease with the same accuracy as current psychological assessments. If the two techniques (i.e. serum protein-based biomarkers and clinical information) were combined, the researchers say people could be diagnosed more accurately.
This is important because receiving an early and accurate diagnosis would help people make sense of what is happening to them and facilitate access the appropriate services. More research is needed and the new test needs to be simplified and made more accessible.
O’Bryan, SE, Xiao, G, [and] Barber, R. [et al] (2010). A serum protein-based algorithm for the detection of alzheimer disease. Archives of Neurology, September 2010. Vol.77(9), pp. 1077-81.