Scientists have developed a new test that seems to have a 90% accuracy of predicting Alzheimer’s disease. All they need from you is a little cerebrospinal fluid. The fluid that runs through your spine and up into your brain seems to hold the key to determining if you will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the future.
There are three substances in the fluid that seem to be related to the risk of Alzheimer’s: total ‘tau,’ ‘phosphorylated-tau,’ and ‘b-amyloid.’ In a recent study, when researchers assessed the different levels of these spinal-fluid products, they were able to predict, fairly accurately, who would later be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
As most people are already aware, prevention and pro- active treatment are the best ways to remedy any illness. By detecting the disease before it actually affects the brain, doctors may be able to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place. While there is no current prophylactic treatment for Alzheimer’s, this finding is something that researchers have been striving for.
In fact, this study has merit because it helps to show that earlier treatments may be possible, as there are ways to predict the onset of the disease before it even happens. The only concern is that spinal-fluid samples are not an appealing option to the average American. The study that used these cerebrospinal fluid taps was based in Sweden, where free medical care is available to everybody.
In the states, however, people are less likely to pay for such a procedure, especially since it involves large needles. However, if the biomarkers could be examined in a different way, then they may still prove useful in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
For now, researchers have to keep working on potential therapies for Alzheimer’s while finding even easier ways to identify markers of risk for the disease. Hopefully, the future will hold a cure for this debilitating disease.