It’s a debilitating illness that affects more than 332,000 of us, but what if we could have known 10 years ago about our diagnosis of Alzheimer’s? Could it have changed our health future and quality of life?
At present, there are no specific precautions that can be taken to prevent Alzheimer’s, meaning it is both alarming and scary as the number of Australian diagnoses continues to rise.
This could all change with a new blood test that has been announced that is able to detect Alzheimer’s disease as early as 10 years before it develops.
In the study, the predictive tests were used to detect patients at risk by measuring insulin resistance in the brain – a revealing symptom of Alzheimer’s. To compare results, researchers analysed the blood of living patients with Alzheimer’s and their frozen blood samples taken 1-10 years before being diagnosed. These results allowed researchers to precisely compare and see which samples came from someone with Alzheimer’s, even up to a decade before diagnosis.
So why would we want to know 10 years in advance about this terrible illness? Won’t that worry us unnecessarily? Well, because studies have shown that intercepting the degenerative disease early is important, since behavioural interventions might stall the disease and delay mental decline.
Senior study author Dr. Ed Goetzl said he envisioned this blood test to be a part of normal health checks and that it will become the norm to take Alzheimer’s prevention medication – “My vision of the future is you have your breakfast cereal, and on one side you have a statin for cardiovascular disease, and on the other side you have three pills to prevent dementia,” he says.
With all this considered, would you try the blood test? Would you want to know early? How had dementia and Alzheimer’s affected your friends or family members? Tell us below.