New Finger-Prick Test Could Help In Early Detection Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Amsterdam, Netherlands — A significant, new advance in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is being unveiled at a medical conference in Amsterdam, and a central Iowa physician who’s there calls it a very exciting development.

Dr. Yogesh Shah, a geriatrician at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, says a simple, finger prick blood test, much like what diabetics do daily, shows promise in the ability to detect Alzheimer’s.

In a Radio Iowa interview from the Netherlands, Shah says this streamlined finger-prick test may help detect Alzheimer’s at home or in the doctor’s office, and indications are the blood test is more than 80-percent accurate. How soon will it be available?

Once it’s available, Shah says only people with a family history of dementia, or those who are showing symptoms, should need to take the test. If the test is positive, preventative measures could start much more quickly. Still, the drugs that are approved for helping to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s are expensive.

A statement released by the Iowa chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association says this new blood test, once verified and approved, “would offer a quick, noninvasive and cost-effective option.” It’s estimated there are 66,000 Iowans living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, and another 98,000 Iowans are their caregivers. A report out this week says the average Alzheimer’s prevalence rate in Iowans age 65 and older is 11%, while the rate is even higher in northwest Iowa. To see this report you can visit Radio Iowa.

For more information on Alzheimer’s you can visit Alzheimer’s Association.