More Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers discovered
Article by Alan Trotter
Potential diagnostic biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease, in the form of specific serum auto-antibodies, have been discovered by researchers in America. According to a study published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS) this month, experts from a number of organisations in New Jersey have come up with 10 autoantibody biomarkers that can effectively differentiate Alzheimer’s disease sera from NDC sera with a sensitivity of 96.0 -per cent and a specificity of 92.5 per cent.
The results of the research carried out in America show that “serum auto-antibodies can be used effectively as highly-specific and accurate biomarkers to diagnose AD throughout the course of the disease”, according to the research team.
Work to find accurate biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease has been ongoing in laboratories around the world for many years. Research specialists have dedicated their careers to finding ways of detecting the condition at the earliest possible stage in an attempt to help increase the quality of life for sufferers and perhaps one day find a cure that will stop Alzheimer’s disease in its tracks once it has been identified. Currently, it is believed that the disease often goes undetected for a period of between five and ten years before current detection methods can be used effectively. It goes without saying that the earlier the disease can be detected, the better for the patient.
In the United Kingdom, dementia leads to the deaths of around 60,000 people every single year and it’s estimated that about three quarters of a million people in Britain have contracted the disease. National charity, The Alzheimer’s Society, believes that by 2025, there could be in excess of one million sufferers in the UK.
The cost of Alzheimer’s disease on society is considerable and there are many areas where the illness has an impact. Not only is the actual sufferer affected, but also the people who provide care and the family members of that person. According to the researchers in New Jersey, the development of a reliable and accurate blood test for Alzheimer’s disease would have a huge impact on society. A reliable blood test would not only be relatively non-invasive, but would also be low-cost, and therefore clearly a viable option for doctors around the world. Of course the main benefit of such a test being introduced onto the market would be the fact that patients would receive warning as early as possible and therefore would be in a much better position to benefit from the available therapies.
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