Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease that affects an individual’s cognitive abilities. Affecting over 5 million Americans, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death. Traditionally, Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed after an affected individual begins to suffer from signs and symptoms that are indicative of Alzheimer’s disease, as testing and diagnosis methods can be highly invasive or expensive, and some testing is highly time consuming. However, American researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC have developed a promising new blood test that determines with 90% accuracy whether an individual will develop Alzheimer’s disease within three years of the test.
Details About the Blood Test
Alzheimer’s disease causes brain cells and signal pathways to degenerate over time. As cells break down, fragments of the degraded cell components are transported to the blood. Many of the by-products created by the degradation caused by Alzheimer’s disease are phospholipid proteins. The new test assesses the blood and detects the presence of 10 biomarker phospholipids, or fatty proteins. These lipid proteins are thought to be the metabolized remnants of brain cell membranes.
The results of this new blood test still need to be validated by other independent laboratories, and the test needs to be conducted on a larger scale that takes into consideration various age ranges and race, as some illnesses are known to affect people of diverse race differently.
Early Detection Allows Families to Make Decisions About Care
Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease can allow families more time to prepare for the progressive cognitive decline of affected loved ones. One of the hardest things to cope with after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is how much your life and your loved one will change as this disease progresses. Early detection gives everyone involved more time to accept this new situation and gives adequate time to adjust, so that everyone can get to work preparing for the care the affected individual will need in the future.
Planning for the care of a loved one with Alzheimer requires some forward thinking, and decisions need to be made, such as who will be the affected individual’s guardian, how will his or her care needs be met, and where he or she will live. There can be many challenges living with a person with Alzheimer’s disease, such as wandering or eloping behavior, and many families decide that their loved one will be best cared for in a nursing home facility. Such facilities often have a staff that is trained to work with residents with Alzheimer’s and have measures in place to prevent, deter or manage unsafe wandering and/or elopement behavior, in which Alzheimer’s residents are prone to engage.
If you have a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, and you are concerned that the nursing home providing care for your loved one is not taking steps to protect its residents from unsafe wandering or elopement, please contact an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney today. Do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Rooth Law Firm either online or by phone at 877-356-3007.
The Alzheimer’s Association, 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures
Alison Abbott, Biomarkers Could Predict Alzheimer’s Before it Starts, Nature, March 9, 2014
Mark Mapstone et al., Plasma Phospholipids Identify Antecedent Memory Impairment in Older Adults, Nature Medicine, March 9, 2014