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N.J. Researcher Devises Blood-Screening Test To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease strikes fear in the heart of most Americans. It’s not only a disease that doesn’t have a cure, it’s a disease without a sure-fire way to detect or confirm it’s presence. 

There has been progress made on the testing side of that equation. And last Thursday The Star-Ledger of Newark did a Page One profile of a scientist who has been developing such a test for this dreaded disease.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/alzheimers_disease_could_be_re.html

The researcher is Bob Nagele, a doctor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine. After toiling for a decade in his lab in Stratford, N.J., Nagele last week had a paper published by the online journal PLoS One about his test to diagnose Alzheimer’s.

Next week, Nagele will  have an article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.  

According to The Ledger, Nagele’s Alzheimer’s test entails testing blood, using computor scans to check the nearly 25,000 proteins in blood. The test detects the 10 autoantibodies that a human body makes to fight off Alzheimer’s. If those are present in the drop of blood being tested by Nagele, the person likley has or is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, according to The Ledger. If these antibodies aren’t present, the diagnosis is no Alzheimer’s.

Nagele’s test is far less complicated that the tests currently being used for Alzheimer’s, and “it’s 95 percent accurate  and takes 24 hours to get results,” The Ledger said.

Nagele’s research has focused on the blood-brain barrier, which prevents certain proteins and antibodies in the blood from getting into brain. He believes that people get Alzheimer’s when this blood-brain barrier malfunctions and lets blood plasma into the brain.

The theory is that detecting Alzheimer’s as early as possible could give doctors a jump in trying to slow down its impact on the brain.

Obviously,  Nagele’s research needs to be verified and tested by others. But it looks promising.

At the very least, The Ledger story deserves a look for its graphic illustrating what happens to a person’s brain when they get Alzheimer’s.      

 

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