A groundbreaking new study by international researchers in Hong Kong could mean good news for early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease.
But the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba (ASM) says the new blood test being developed is a long way from being ready for clinical use, so people should temper their expectations.
“I can be both a booster and a wet blanket all at once,” ASM’s Erin Crawford told 680 CJOB.
“On the booster side of things: every new piece of research is good news, because we need a vibrant research community if we are going to move the needle on diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
“Blood tests have been a really promising area of research for a little while, so it’s something the scientific community — the research community — is really interested in… so this study is one of the next steps.”
It’s not, however, a final step, she said. The path between scientific research and actually being able to walk into your doctor’s office to take a test is a long and complicated one.
Crawford said there are currently tests that can eliminate other potential causes of dementia, but there’s not yet a simple yes/no test for Alzheimer’s.
“To get to that point would be really, really important for people, but we’re not there yet.
“You want to see news like this, but changing care will be a little bit down the road.”
The research, led by Prof. Nancy Ip at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, is reportedly able to distinguish Alzheimer’s patients from healthy people with more than 96 per cent accuracy.
In a statement about the project, Ip said the research is also able to differentiate between different stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and can monitor the disease’s progression over time.
“With the advancement of ultrasensitive blood-based protein detection technology, we have developed a simple, non-invasive, and accurate diagnostic solution for AD,” said Ip.
“(This) will greatly facilitate population-scale screening and staging of the disease.”