Alzheimers Archives - Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc.
(662) 282-4226
Open hours: Mon 7:30am – 7:00pm, T/W/Th 7:30am – 5:30pm, Fri 7:30am – 4:00pm
A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer’s is Being Studied with Promising Results

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer’s is Being Studied with Promising Results

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer's is Being Studied with Promising Results

Experts have long believed that earlier treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is the key to slowing or stopping the disease. Now, a new blood test for Alzheimer’s is being studied. It demonstrates promising results that could lead to early diagnosis and treatment. 

A study presented virtually at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2020 and in the JAMA medical journal revealed promising results for those fighting to cure dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The new blood test–which still likely won’t be available for several years–detects different types of tau protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. 

How the New Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Works

The new test works by focusing on the specific subtypes of tau protein. This key protein becomes abnormal as Alzheimer’s disease changes the brain. Initial results found Alzheimer’s patients exhibit more of a particular subtype, a modified tau protein called p-tau217, than healthy patients who participated in the study. 

Studies of the blood test have shown its results to be as accurate as a spinal tap or PET scan. The blood test can also distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from Parkinson’s disease and other types of dementia with 89% to 98% accuracy. What’s more, the test could differentiate between the different types of cognitive dementia and flag early signs of Alzheimer’s. 

Experts say earlier detection of dementia could lead to testing current treatments for these diseases at a much earlier stage. Earlier treatment could result in slowing or completely stopping the progression of dementia. 

Just how early can this new blood test detect Alzheimer’s? Possibly up to 20 years before the first symptoms occur by measuring p-tau217 levels. 

As you can read, exciting moves are being made in the quest to cure Alzheimer’s and dementia. Though we may still be several years away from seeing these new tests become available for patients, we’re confident the treatments for these terrible diseases are going to improve greatly and change the lives of patients and their families. Learn more about the new blood test study here.

Early Alzheimer’s Signs Not to Miss

older woman and caregiver walking away; early Alzheimer's signs

For most people with Alzheimer’s symptoms begin in the mid-to-late 60s. Those rare cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s may begin to notice symptoms as early as their 30s. In either case, the National Institute on Aging believes it’s likely the damage leading to these signs begins a decade before the patient or anyone else notices the signs.

During the early or mild stages of Alzheimer’s, when most patients are diagnosed, patients experience very similar symptoms. Many patients know something isn’t exactly right. Family and friends who do not see the person on a regular basis may even write off a few odd behaviors as typical aging. Most Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms represent a change in a person’s behavior.

Forgetfulness

It’s common as we age to forget a person’s name and remember it later. We may not know what day of the week it is but then figure it out. Forgetfulness may include struggling with dates and times, misplacing items more frequently or not remembering something you just learned. When you discover you or a loved one relies more and more on memory aids like written notes, reminders set on their phone or assistance from family members visit your provider to discuss the changes.

Difficulty with Daily Tasks

By the time we reach our mid-sixties, most of us have gotten ourselves dressed for the day for over half a century. Remembering what clothes to wear in what weather or how to button our shirt seems like second nature unless you’re suffering from Alzheimer’s. In addition to struggling to dress themselves, Alzheimer patients may also struggle to balance the checkbook, make plans or decisions, cook a simple meal or drive themselves to a familiar place.

Mood and Personality Changes

Knowing you’re confused but not being able to do anything about it is very scary. Often these changes cause a previously outgoing person to retreat. They may prefer to stay at home where things are familiar or they won’t be asked questions they can’t answer. They may also leave favorite hobbies because they find themselves making frequent mistakes. Or they may not remember how to complete the tasks required. Other personality changes include moodiness, anger, anxiety, more confusion, and depression.

Unfortunately, science does not have a cure for Alzheimer’s yet. This devastating illness progresses requiring more intensive care and supervision. There are medications that can help along with support programs for caregivers and family members.

If you suspect someone you love has Alzheimer’s or you need mental health support as you care for the Alzheimer’s patient in your life make an appointment with one of our counselors today.


Our Providers Are Ready to Help You

Request Your Appointment Now