NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A test that can predict who is going to develop Alzheimer’s Disease is being hailed as a medical breakthrough.
As CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, the test has boasted an incredible accuracy rate but is not without controversy.
Other tests have been used to predict the disease including school exam style tests and a test that looks for certain bio-markers in spinal fluid and requires a spinal tap.
The newest test is a blood test that can reportedly predict who will get Alzheimer’s several years before symptoms appear.
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center followed 525 apparently mentally healthy seniors for several years. Some went on to develop a mental impairment. Researches then went back to see if there was something in their blood that could have predicted dementia.
“There was a small number of circulating blood fats, lipids, which were able to predict at the time of entry, when cognitively normal those individuals who would go on to become cognitively impaired,” Dr. Howard Federoff explained.
Those blood markers are very different from the conventional markers that have been used in previous tests.
Although the test was able to estimate, with more than 90 percent accuracy, which people would develop mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease within three years it would also generate more false positives that the FDA typically allows for screening tests.
Still, developers say the test is valuable.
“Being able to ask the question does an intervention or a therapy work to delay the progression,” Dr. Federoff said.
Several members of Cappy Friedman’s family have had Alzheimer’s disease. As part of the study participants were not told their results, but the 84-year-old woman said that she would want this type of test to be available.
“I think it’s important for people to be involved. Especially those with a family history,” she said.
The availability of the test would be years away.
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