There is constant research going on both ways to prevent Alzheimer's disease or dementia and methods to test for it. Updates on research on blood tests and genes were sent to me that I thought I'd pass along.
The search for a blood test for Alzheimer's disease has been on the radar for a while now. The thinking behind this would be to test for increased levels of certain proteins that may show up in the blood. The Texas Alzheimer's Research Consortium has recently published a new report of a study where the blood of subjects with Alzheimer's disease and those without it. Using the measure of specific proteins, the scientists were able to determine which subjects had Alzheimer's disease with 80% accuracy. The researchers cited the incredible benefits that a test like this would have when perfected, "The identification of blood-based biomarker profiles with good diagnostic accuracy would have a profound impact worldwide".
Another interesting piece of news in dementia research had to do with researchers finding new genes that may be linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease and some of the other forms of dementia. Two research teams, one in America and one in Europe, have now uncovered five new genes that may give clues about who may develop Alzheimer's disease and who is less at risk.
Like other identified genes, these also have to do with the way the human body deals with cholesterol. There are links also to heart disease and inflammation (what the blood tests may measure in the future). With both inflammation and cholesterol build-up thought to be a factor in developing Alzheimer's disease, these newly identified genes may again help us find the disease at an earlier stage and hopefully have better ways to manage it.
Caregivers often are dealing with the demands of the disease of dementia right now so research strides can seem distant. But caregivers also need to follow the disease research for two reasons: you never know what may be discovered around the next corner and caregivers need to care for themselves!