Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stanford researchers find blood test for Alzheimer's

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a new blood test that could potentially be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease.

The test shows promise in predicting which patients with mild memory loss are at high risk of developing the disease, which at this point can be diagnosed only by ruling out other possible causes.

The Stanford team, led by neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, announced its findings in the newest issue of Nature Medicine. Its key findings: the identification of 18 distinctive proteins that appear with surprising consistency in the blood of Alzheimer's patients.

To do so, they screened out 120 such proteins that circulate in the blood and then created a test that lights up when the 18 biomarkers are present in a blood sample.

Though premature, the test's potential is garnering huge attention. In one experiment using stored blood samples, it proved positive for the disease in 38 out of 42 patients who had already been independently diagnosed.


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