New test for risk of Alzheimer’s disease
A new test has been developed to identify those at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease (Science Bulletin, 2016). The biochip-based blood test was presented at the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Expo in Philadelphia. The biochip, created by Randox Laboratories, will save patients both time and money by conducting multiple tests on the same blood sample and analyzing results in as little as three hours (Nichols, 2016). The biochips were also found to have the same accuracy as a standard DNA test.
The gene for apolipoprotein is known to be a significant genetic risk factor for a multitude of neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia. Specifically, the E4 variant can increase a person’s risk for developing the disease 8-12 times when inherited from both parents. This new test detects the presence of the protein produced by this gene in a blood sample (Science Bulletin, 2016). According to research scientist Emma C. Harte, Ph.D, of Randox Laboratories, “pairing this test with medical and family history for risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” will greatly improve diagnostic ability as well as personalized medicine.
Other tests for the disease have been less scientific. With cognitive decline comes progressive loss of senses, smell being the first to go. Researchers at the University of Florida found that those with a confirmed early-stage diagnosis of Alzheimer’s were able to smell a dollop of peanut butter with their right nostril, but not their left (Johnson, 2013). More recently, studies presented at the 2016 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggest that a poor score on an odor detection test correlated with subsequent memory loss (Borreli, 2016). These tests may be used in the future for an even cheaper and earlier test for Alzheimer’s disease.
(2016). New biochip-based blood test detects elevated risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Science Bulletin. Retrieved from http://sciencebulletin.org/archives/3971.html
Borreli, L. (July 27, 2016). Can't Smell Coffee? Maybe You Have Alzheimer's. Medical Daily. Retrieved from http://www.medicaldaily.com/alzheimers-disease-sniff-test-memory-decline-392885
Johnson, J. (October 9, 2013). Alzheimer's Test: Can You Smell Peanut Butter?. Newser. Retrieved from http://www.newser.com/story/175622/alzheimers-test-can-you-smell-peanut-butter.html
Nichols, H. (August 3, 2016). Alzheimer's: Biochip blood test detects disease risk. Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312094.php