A research team led by Dr. Robert Nagele from Rowan University SOM has developed a blood test to detect an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study involving 236 subjects, the test demonstrated 100% accuracy.

“These findings could eventually lead to the development of a simple, inexpensive and relatively noninvasive way to diagnose this devastating disease in its earliest stages,” says Cassandra DeMarshall, the study’s lead author and a PhD candidate at the Rowan University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Researchers believe Alzheimer’s-related changes begin in the brain at least a decade before symptoms appear. “To the best of our knowledge,” Nagele explains, “this is the first blood test…that can accurately detect Alzheimer’s at an early point in the course of the disease when treatments are more likely to be beneficial – that is, before too much brain devastation has occurred.”

The researchers presented their results in an article published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring that also reported the test’s ability to accurately “stage the disease,” meaning it can distinguish early-stage Alzheimer’s from later, more advanced stages. The test was also disease-specific. It distinguished early Alzheimer’s from other diseases including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and early stage breast cancer.

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