3 Experimental Tests for Early Alzheimer’s Detection

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by Wendy Henderson |

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Although there are a few experimental tests that can pinpoint some of the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease, they’re not widely available and, according to the Mayo Clinic, more research is needed to determine what they reveal about the progression of a person’s Alzheimer’s disease and who the tests would benefit most. However, it is known that early detection would benefit patients by allowing them to begin treatment earlier, potentially slowing the progression of the disease.

These tests consist of:

Biomarker Tests
This tests for the presence of two of the proteins responsible for Alzheimer’s disease: tau and beta-amyloid. Higher levels of these in the cerebrospinal fluid could lead to plaques and tangles in the brain which may, in turn, lead to the development of Alzheimer’s. The test may indicate who would be more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s based on their current levels of tau and beta-amyloid.

MORE: Can vitamin D prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

This test records changes in the brain over time using regular PET or MRI scanning and radiotracers that may help to determine which people are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s by illuminating tau and beta-amyloid proteins in the brain.

Cognitive Assessment
Using technology and computer software, this test assesses any decline in cognitive skills that may allow doctors to determine if someone is at an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

MORE: Can head injuries cause Alzheimer’s disease?

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