(RxWiki News) There is still no definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease in a living person, but that may be about to change.
A blood test may soon be available to clearly diagnose Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages, thanks to the work of researchers at Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).
"Blood test for Alzheimer's may be around the corner."
"Our clinical study shows that a non-invasive blood test, based on a biochemical process, may be successfully used to diagnose Alzheimer's at an early stage and differentiate it from other types of dementia," says senior author Dr. Vassilios Papadopoulos, director of the MUHC Research Institute.
The test studies the production of a hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The researchers were able to increase the production of DHEA, using a chemical process called oxidation, in blood taken from non-Alzheimer's patients. In Alzheimer's patients, oxidation did not increase DHEA.
"We demonstrated we could accurately and repetitively detect Alzheimer's disease, with small samples of blood," says Papadopoulos. "This test also allowed for differential diagnosis of early stages of Alzheimer's disease, suggesting this can be used as a test to diagnose the disease in its infancy."
Currently the diagnosis of Alzheimer's follows the sequence of family history, information, mental assessment and a physical exam, focusing on neurological (brain function) signs.