January 21, 2016 7:40 am
Updated: January 24, 2016 1:32 pm

New blood-test could detect risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

WATCH ABOVE: A new blood test developed in Saskatchewan could detect risk of someone developing Alzheimer's disease. Leena Latafat reports.


SASKATOON – According to Alzheimer Society of Canada, 1.4 million Canadians could be living with Alzheimer’s disease by 2031. Saskatchewan-based health technology company, Phenomenome Discoveries, hopes to reduce that number through a new blood-test that could intervene with early prevention.

The Health Canada approved “Alz-ID” test identifies people at increased risk of developing the disease. It also identifies those that are at average or decreased risk.

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It’s not a diagnostic test and being at high-risk doesn’t mean a patient is bound to develop the illness. But according to Dayan Goodenowe, founder of Phenomenome Discoveries, Alz-ID could be a game-changer for preventing Alzheimer’s early on.

“You don’t really see the incident’s rates above baseline if you will until around age 75. And then it typically doubles after every five-year increments after that. It’s an epidemic. There’s no question about it,” Goodenowe said.

READ MORE: Man with Alzheimer’s who made plea online talks disease, outpouring of support

The test measures the blood levels of key brain lipids called plasmalogens. Low counts of plasmalogen levels have been  linked to an increased chance of developing the illness.

Phenomenome also studies the difference in blood samples of those who have Alzheimer’s and those who don’t, something he says is crucial.

“You can look at it from both sides. There’s going to be people who have the disease and people that don’t. You can ask the question, ‘What’s wrong with someone who has the disease?’ But we don’t spend enough time thinking, ‘Why don’t these people get the disease?'”

He says despite ongoing research, Alzheimer’s usually occurs seven to 10 years before symptoms are detected.

READ MORE: Your sugary sweet diet may boost your risk of Alzheimer’s

While there is no cure for the disease, he adds if signs are caught early, there are ways to help improve different forms of dementia including exercise, specifically resistance training and a prescribed diet.

“Alzheimer’s is not going to be fixed with a diagnostic test or a pill. Alzheimer’s is a societal program. It’s going to take engagement, education, and assessments.”

The ideal age to take the test is after 60.

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