Blood Test Shown to Accurately Identify Alzheimer’s Disease


A blood test may help identify and diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, researchers used attenuated total reflection FTIR (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy combined with chemometric techniques to analyze blood plasma samples in 347 individuals with neurodegenerative disease. They identified Alzheimer’s disease with 70% sensitivity and specificity, which after the incorporation of APOE 4 genotype, increased to 86% when individuals carried one or two alleles of E4. Moreover, early Alzheimer’s cases were identified with 80% sensitivity and 74% specificity. The authors concluded that spectroscopy could provide a simple and robust diagnostic test, but that more work is needed to understand the extent to which the test can identify patients who have not yet developed symptoms and differentiate stages of severity. 


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Launched in January 2002, Practical Neurology strives to enhance quality of care and improve the daily operation of neurology practices. Each month, our experts explain the real-world significance of recent advances in neurologic science and offer step-by-step advice on how to overcome the clinical and business challenges neurologists face. Our straightforward, how-to articles give neurologists tools they can put into practice right away.