Study: Blood test could predict whether a person will develop Al - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Study: Blood test could predict whether a person will develop Alzheimer's Disease

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

It's being called a "potential game-changer." In a new study, researchers at Georgetown University claim they have a test that can actually predict whether a person will develop Alzheimer's disease.

The study, published in "Nature Medicine", uses a simple blood test to look for so-called "biomarkers". Emily Lord, Alzheimer's Association Manager, Education and Outreach said, "A blood test, like this, is less invasive, it's affordable, and it's easily accessible for almost all Americans."

The study started with 525 people. By looking at low levels of certain fats, or lipids, in the bloodstream, the study predicted with 90% accuracy who would develop dementia, mild cognitive impairment, or Alzheimer's disease one-to-three years after the test. Emily Lord, Alzheimer's Association Manager, Education and Outreach said, "It's very exciting. Because if we can find these people, who will develop the disease, we can get them treatment much more quickly, we can help them with the planning process, and we can hopefully find methods to slow the progression of the disease."

To confirm their findings, the researchers then looked at the blood of 54 other patients, who had Alzheimer's or mild cognitive impairment. This group also had low levels of the lipids. But, there's still a lot of work to be done. Emily Lord, Alzheimer's Association Program Director said, "What's really exciting about biomarkers is the ability to find people that will develop the disease before they have the 'red flags' or symptoms that we normally associate with cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias."

The need for a screening test for Alzheimer's is great. The Alzheimer's Association says half-a-million people die, every year, from the disease. That makes Alzheimer's the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

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