- your health July 9
Researchers have discovered 10 proteins in blood that might be able to predict Alzheimer's, and even form the basis for a blood test that could diagnose the disease before symptoms start.
In a study published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, researchers from King's College London were able to accurately predict Alzheimer's disease nearly nine times out of 10. More than 1,100 people participated in the study, and researchers found that 16 of the 26 proteins associated with Alzheimer's were closely tied to the brain shrinkage found in a person with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's. Researchers ran more tests, and found that 10 proteins could be markers that mild cognitive impairment will develop into Alzheimer's.
Looking at these protein levels, researchers were able to correctly predict Alzheimer's disease in 87 percent of the cases. The goal now is to use the information gleaned from the study to create a blood test that could diagnose Alzheimer's early, when medications should have the biggest effect, and treat it before symptoms even begin.
"You take a drug, and in effect you would have the clinical symptoms prevented — even if the disease has already started in your brain," Oxford's Simon Loveston, the study's senior author, told CBS News. Such a breakthrough would be huge: 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's, and the rates are expected to triple by 2050. Every year, an estimated $215 billion is spent in the U.S. on Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.- - Catherine Garcia
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
Subscribe to the Week