Researchers have developed a blood test to detect early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists at Rowan University in New Jersey have developed a blood test that can detect mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI usually appears ten or more years before the severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Not everyone with mild cognitive impairment goes on to get Alzheimer’s. MCI can be caused by multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, vascular problems, depression, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions.
According to researchers at Rowan, their blood test can distinguish between different forms of cognitive impairment, and, using a small number of blood-borne autoantibody biomarkers, can predict with nearly 100 percent accuracy the cases that will progress to advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
The study tested the blood of 236 subjects, 50 of whom had MCI. If the original findings are confirmed by a larger study, doctors could use the test to make treatment recommendations. The care of those who have early Alzheimer’s would be different from those who have MCI for different reasons.
Early detection of Alzheimer’s is important so that treatment can begin when it is most beneficial, before a lot of brain changes have occurred.
The research will be published in a future issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, see Guide To Long Term Care.
It is estimated that unpaid family members take up 2/3 of the cost of long term care. Long term care insurance can help pay for both home care and nursing home care. Two LTC insurance companies include a (limited) cash benefit that can be used to pay family members, many of these policies have Partnership asset protection. Also available are life policies with long term care riders and some companies have a cash benefit.