Early Alzheimer’s detection might be possible

Medical research suggests a blood test, that can detect Alzheimer’s before diagnosis, might be possible.

FILE: Medical research suggests that a blood test, that can detect Alzheimer’s disease a decade before diagnosis, might be possible. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

CAPE TOWN - The publication of groundbreaking research that makes it possible to detect Alzheimer's disease 10 years before clinical onset can be a blessing, the National Director of Alzheimer's South Africa, Bernadette Lawrence, said on Thursday.

Earlier this week, new research published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), was presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington, DC.

The research suggests that a blood test, that can detect Alzheimer's disease a decade before diagnosis, might be possible.

The research is very early, the sample size is small and a commercial test is not yet available, but study authors found a way to measure insulin resistance in the brain - a symptom indicative of Alzheimer's disease.

Lawrence says the reason why the research is exciting is that doctors know that diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and gastroenteritis are all related to dementia.

"The sooner it is detected, and diagnosed correctly, the better chance you have of coping."

However, she is rather worried that the research, which is mostly based on theory derived from clinical testing and observation, will take a long time to materialise into something solid.

"I am more concerned that there is false hope."