NEW JERSEY – Doctors are on the verge of a major breakthrough. A new Alzheimer’s detection kit that examines antibodies in the blood may be able to determine whether or not a patient will suffer from the disease long before the exhibit symptoms.
Alzheimer’s is a serious disease that affects millions of people worldwide and causes the degradation of mental faculties. if doctors and patients catch it early, they may be able to slow its advance down.
Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating disease that can strain families. Scientists still aren’t exactly sure what causes the disease, but the new test could help them treat it.
The test works by examining the antibodies found in the bloodstream. Such antibodies themselves are our body’s own response to changing conditions. As such, their presence and composition in the blood can help us understand what the body is “seeing” at the cellular level.
Alzheimer’s disease sets in years before symptoms start to appear, namely people slowly losing control of their mental faculties. The antibodies found in our blood change as a result, and now scientists may be able to use them to discover Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages.
By detecting these antibodies, scientists should be able to detect minute changes in the brain itself.
If so, people will be given a chance to change their lifestyles to prevent or delay the onset of the disease, and doctors will be able to begin treatment. While no cure yet exists for Alzheimer’s there are steps people and medical professionals can take to delay its onset.
For example, doctors know that a healthy blood-brain barrier reduces the risk of developing the disease. Many conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes can contribute to poor cardiovascular health. Many of these conditions are also treatable.
Other studies have suggested that intellectual and social engagements, which can stimulate the brain, lowering the risk of the disease developing. If people become aware of what’s coming, they will have time to react and plan for it.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized with a loss of mental faculties and degradation of one’s mental state. While the disease most commonly afflicts the elderly, individuals under the age of 65 can develop it.
The test is being developed at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey. Given that 1 in 9 Americans over the age of 65 will ultimately suffer from the disease, the early detection test could mark a major breakthrough.
Worldwide, it is estimated that some 44 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. As humans are now living longer, the risk of suffering from the disease increase. This helps explain why Western Europe and North America are home to more patients than anywhere else.
The global costs for treating Alzheimer’s disease tops $600 billion dollars, with $226 billion being spent in the United States alone.
These costs don’t even consider the burden on families. Many family members are left on their own to struggle with taking care of their parents, or paying the fees needed to put them in a specialized home.