The processes involved in developing Alzheimer’s disease begin long before an older adult experiences symptoms, but earlier treatment may prevent permanent neuron loss. Expensive imaging scans are some of the only ways to detect the beta-amyloid proteins that contribute to neuron death. However, scientists from Australia and Japan recently introduced a blood test with the capability to detect the proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Blood Test Discovery
According to trial findings published in Nature, the test has a 90 percent accuracy rate. Researchers evaluated the procedure on 121 people in Japan. In Australia, 252 people who were healthy or had mild cognitive issues also underwent the trial at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.
The two research groups discovered the newly developed blood test was as effective as imaging scan studies and more reliable than previously developed blood tests. This test reveals the presence of amyloid-beta protein fragments in the blood. After evaluating the blood, researchers then calculate the quantity of proteins the brain contains.
The test is more cost-effective compared to brain scans, which means a larger number of people would be able to afford the evaluation. However, it remains unknown if earlier detection would dramatically change the course of the disease. While more effective, the blood test may not hold much in terms of practical clinical application. Nevertheless, the ease and inexpensive means of testing would prove fruitful during future studies when researchers need to assess the success of newly-developed medications.
However, the scientists are not ready to approve the testing technique for practical application. They explain further studies are needed to be performed on a greater number of people to compile conclusive results. The extent of further research may span the length of one year before the test can be used by other labs around the world.
If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Oklahoma City seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that promotes cognitive health and delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to.
Not Suitable for Detecting All Forms of Dementia
Dr. Rob Howard from University College London cautions that the blood test will not be useful for evaluating all forms of dementia, as cognitive issues are not always caused by amyloid-beta proteins. Additionally, it is not uncommon for people to have the proteins in their brain and never develop cognitive impairments.
People experiencing cognitive difficulties are carefully evaluated for possible underlying causes. Family and medical history, mental testing, imaging studies, and blood testing are often necessary to rule out or determine a definite cause of symptoms.
If you’re concerned your senior loved one might have Alzheimer’s, correctly diagnosing the disease is the first step toward creating a comprehensive in-home care plan. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same home care services. Oklahoma City families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
The Need for Early Detection
Alzheimer’s may begin developing up to 30 years before symptoms appear. Earlier detection lessens the time to start treatment to prevent or slow the progression of the disease. More than five million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s since 2017. This number is expected to rise dramatically over the coming decades. With the ability to detect potential issues earlier, different treatment methods may then also emerge.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of many major health issues older adults are susceptible to. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Oklahoma City seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To create a customized care plan for your aging loved one, call Home Care Assistance at 405-285-4191 today.