A simple, eye-tracking test could help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease earlier and with more success than current methods, reports The Telegraph. Researchers from UK’s Lancaster University, studying the diseases, have developed the tracking test, in partnership with Royal Preston Hospital.
Collaborating scientists from Emory University School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Washington University have identified variations in the levels of 4 blood proteins that may enable early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
In the study just published in Neurology, the researchers looked at variations of 190 proteins in the blood in 600 individuals that were either healthy, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or showed signs of mild cognitive impairment. In this part of the study, they found 17 proteins that often displayed variant levels between the healthy patients and those diagnosed Alzheimer’s or cognitive impairment.
Counselors have long cautioned about the downsides of genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease.
For one thing, the current genetic tests for late-onset Alzheimer’s — the type that develops after age 60 and is responsible for more than 90 percent of cases — only indicate a probability of getting the disease. It’s not definitive. And consumers’ ability to buy life insurance or long-term care coverage could be jeopardized by the results.
If there was a way to know if you were predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s disease, would you want to know? As tests to evaluate an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease advance, this is a question plaguing the minds of more and more Americans, especially those who have parents or other relatives with the disease.
According to the Washington Post, two-thirds of U.S. respondents in a survey last year conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health said they’d want to know if they were likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.