Progress toward an Alzheimer’s blood test (video)

A loved one is having memory problems. Often he is confused about where he is – and he’s having trouble completing familiar tasks.

Is it Alzheimer’s disease?

Currently, neurologists diagnose Alzheimer’s based mainly on clinical symptoms. Added information can come from brain imaging, which tends to be expensive, or analysis of a spinal tap, which can be painful.

Dr. William Hu, an assistant professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, and other scientists have taken steps toward developing a blood test for Alzheimer’s, opening up the possibility of a more affordable, convenient way to identify the disease.

“Though a blood test to identify underlying Alzheimer’s disease is not quite ready for prime time given today’s technology, we now have identified ways to make sure that a test will be reliable,” says Hu.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s can help lead to drug and other treatments that can ease the burden of the disease. And caregivers and patients can be educated about how to lessen the effect of the disease on everyday life.

Here’s a video of a GHN interview with Hu, courtesy of Emory, explaining the research and why it could eventually represent a breakthrough.