New technique for diagnosing Alzheimer’s

It may soon be possible to obtain a highly accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease by analyzing a sample of spinal fluid. A study released Monday found that a constellation of three substances in the cerebrospinal fluid was present in 90% of people who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The test also showed the same markers were found in 72% of people with mild cognitive impairment, considered an early stage of the disease, and in one-third of adults who had no cognitive problems.

Many experts believe that biomarkers in spinal fluid may emerge as the most accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. At present, the disease is diagnosed using pencil-and-paper cognitive tests, which are subjective and may be inaccurate. The diagnosis can only be confirmed by examining brain tissue at an autopsy…

In an editorial accompanying the paper, two U.S. experts in the disease said that cerebrospinal fluid analysis should be put into wider practice. “There is now ample evidence that these measurements have value; physicians need to formulate when and how to incorporate cerebrospinal fluid measurements into practice,” they wrote.

Hopefully, the indicators will provide a pathway to a cure – at least symptomatic relief.

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