Do you want to know or not? It would be a huge step forward for relatives who are at risk, as well as for families, doctors and researchers: a blood test that can predict whether there is a risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And that two decades before the outbreak.
Alzheimer’s is identified by memory and thinking tests: These tests are usually only carried out when the patient is already showing symptoms.
It may sound a bit like science fiction, but the studies were presented at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference: Scientists from Sweden and the United States are researching a protein that is involved in brain cell damage and is said to lead to Alzheimer’s .
The changes in the brain should be recognizable 20 years before the onset of symptoms of dementia. The accuracy of the test results is said to be 98 percent.
It is believed that the build-up of the Tau protein is closely related to the loss of mental powers: P-Tau217 seems to show measurable changes in the blood particularly quickly. Changes in the brain proteins amyloid and tau and their clumping (deposits) are among the changes in the brain in the event of illness.
Hope for a cheap test, first of all studies are needed
The results suggest that blood / plasma levels of P-Tau217, which are found in deposits, are also closely related to the build-up of amyloid.
“The possibility of early detection and treatment before Alzheimer’s has significantly damaged the brain would be a revolution for patients, their families, and the health system,” said Maria C. Carrillo, chief scientist at the Alzheimer’s Association.
At present, changes in the brain before the symptoms set in can only be reliably detected using positron emission tomography (PET) and by measuring amyloid and tau proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). These methods are expensive and invasive.
“While these new reports are encouraging, they’re early results, and we still don’t know how long it will take for these tests to become available for clinical use. They need to be tested in long-term, large-format, such as clinical, Alzheimer’s studies “says Carrillo.
Do flu and pneumococcal vaccinations protect me?
There are also other reports of hope: Two new studies show that flu and pneumococcal vaccinations can reduce the risk of the disease, even in genetically predisposed people and single use.
According to the study, in which more than 9,000 patients (older than 60 years) took part, even a one-time flu vaccination is effective. The frequency of Alzheimer’s disease was reduced by 17 percent.
Neurologist and founder of Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic, Richard Isaacson, explains: “Regular use of the flu vaccine, especially at a young age, could help prevent viral infections that have a strong impact on the immune system and inflammation pathways. These viral infections can cause Alzheimer’s -conditional cognitive decline. “
Pneumococcal vaccinations have also surprised in a long-term study as an Alzheimer’s preventive measure. Participants who had a genetically predisposed high Alzheimer’s risk could reduce this by up to 30 percent by vaccination between the ages of 65 and 75 years. Those without a genetic predisposition were even able to reduce the risk by 40 percent thanks to the vaccine.
Why these vaccinations have such an unexpected effect has not yet been conclusively clarified.