Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Still Years Away

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Boston Globe reports that the headlines last week touted the promise of a new blood test for Alzheimer’s disease — a simple, non-invasive way to detect the condition before symptoms occur. It measures levels of 10 lipids or fats circulating in the blood, and a study of 525 healthy seniors published in Nature Medicine found that it could predict within 90 percent accuracy whether the subjects would go on to develop memory loss or other symptoms five years later.

The test could be a potentially huge development given that half a million Americans are estimated to die from Alzheimer’s disease every year, according to a recent study published in the journal Neurology.

But “potential” is the operative word here. “We are certainly getting closer to having a blood test for Alzheimer’s, which I thought was impossible five years ago,” said Dr. Robert Stern, director of clinical research of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center. “But I predict it will take another five or 10 years for one to become available.”

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