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Alzheimer’s News: Deaths much higher than thought; new blood test predicts disease


Thousands walked last September in the annual march to promote awareness of Alzheimer's in Louisville. (Photo from Ky./Ind. chapter)

Thousands walked last September in the annual march to promote awareness of Alzheimer’s in Louisville. (Photo from Ky./Ind. chapter)

 
By combining the results of a study published recently in the journal Neurology and another published online this week in Nature Medicine, the Kentucky and Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association believe that up to a half a million deaths a year can be attributed to the debilitating disease, almost six times higher than earlier estimates. But, they also believe they have a blood test that can predict it.
 
The World Health Organization reports that there are more than 35 million people with Alzheimer’s worldwide and that they expect that number to double every 20 years to more than 115 million by 2050.
 
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center say they’ve discovered and validated the test that is greater than 90 percent accurate at predicting if a healthy person will develop Alzheimer’s or other mild cognitive impairment within three years of the test.
 
The predictors are apparently 10 lipids or fats in the blood. It is expected to be another two years at least before the test is ready for clinical use, according to an article in Science Daily.
 
A study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, which is the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, in January said researchers considered blood-based biomarkers tests “the holy grail of early detection.” The study followed that promising comment with “However, blood-based biomarkers do not yet provide valid diagnostic information.” This was a little over two months before this latest blood test revelation.
 
How can a local chapter help:
 
The Kentucky and Indiana Chapter offers a 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 as well as local programming and resources, including:
 
• Early stage support group
• Memory café
• The Basics two-hour program
• Legal and financial planning
• Family caregiver workshop
• Living with Alzheimer’s: For caregivers, early stage presentation
• Living with Alzheimer’s: For caregivers, late stage presentation
 
For more information, visit alz.org/kyin.
 
From Ky./Ind. chapter


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