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Published on: April 4, 2015
by Kathleen Lees for Science World Report:
Researchers from the National Taiwan Normal University Institute of Electro-optical Science and Technology along with the National Taiwan University Hospital’s Neurology Department have created the first blood test to successfully predict Alzheimer’s disease.
“Blood-based biomarkers would have the important advantage of being safe, affordable and easy to administer in large groups or in rural areas, and therefore could have an enormous impact on clinical care and clinical trials alike,” said Dr. Liana G. Apostolova, director of the neuroimaging laboratory at the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA and head of the research team, via CBS Los Angeles.
“These could have an enormous impact on clinical care and clinical trials alike,” she added.
The test uses metal nanopowder, which has developed into a significant tool in medicine and serves as a platform through which scientists work to deliver drugs to diseased areas of the body in patients.
Now the test can help predict the likelihood of the disease in patients as many as eight to 10 years around from the neurodegenerative health problem. This can be particularly helpful in finding the right treatment plan for the individual. The current method of testing involves drawing spinal fluid from the patient and takes about a week to deliver results, but can be particularly invasive and may come with nerve damage and other side effects. Another method is the amyloid PET scan, which is effective but exposes the patient to radiation. It’s also known to be expensive and most insurance companies don’t cover it as a diagnostic test.
The new blood testing also carries some drawbacks, too. Finding out this kind of diagnosis early on can led to the onset of depression. But it’s chosing a treatment plan that doctors are so hopeful about for the future as the use of nanotechnology in modern medicine continues to help bring solutions to the future of disease.
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