Tuesday September 24, 2019

Researchers Develop New Test to Detect Alzheimer’s Disease Even Before the Symptoms Occur

Now, new clinical studies with test participants in very early stages of the disease can be launched

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In Alzheimer's disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a new test that could help doctors detect Alzheimer’s disease eight years before the first symptoms occur.

Using current techniques, Alzheimer’s disease, the most frequent cause of dementia, can only be detected once the typical plaques have formed in the brain.

At this point, therapy seems no longer possible. However, the first changes caused by Alzheimer’s take place on the protein level up to 20 years sooner.

“Once amyloid plaques have formed, it seems that the disease can no longer be treated,” said study co-author Andreas Nabers from Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany.

In Alzheimer’s patients, the amyloid beta protein folds incorrectly due to pathological changes long before the first symptoms occur.

A team of researchers headed by Klaus Gerwert from Ruhr-University Bochum successfully diagnosed this misfolding using a simple blood test. As a result, the disease could be detected approximately eight years before the first clinical symptoms occur.

A lady suffering from Alzheimer’s. Flickr

But experiments showed that the test was not suitable for clinical applications as the test provided false positive diagnoses for nine per cent of the study participants.

In order to increase the number of correctly identified Alzheimer’s cases, the researchers have now introduced the two-tier diagnostic method.

To this end, they use the original blood test to identify high-risk individuals. Subsequently, they add a dementia-specific biomarker, namely tau protein, to run further tests with those test participants whose Alzheimer’s diagnosis was positive in the first step.

Also Read- 15 Dead, Over 15,000 Infected by Dengue in Sri Lanka

If both biomarkers show a positive result, there is a high likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, said the study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.

“Through the combination of both analyses, 87 of 100 Alzheimer’s patients were correctly identified in our study,” Gerwert said.

“Now, new clinical studies with test participants in very early stages of the disease can be launched,” Gerwert added. (IANS)

Next Story

Genomic Sequencing-based Test Detect Resistant Mutation In Tuberculosis

Indian firm develops a test to detect drug-resistant TB mutation

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Tuberculosis
Doctors can use direct whole genome sequencing to get information on drug resistance mutations in TB. Pixabay

Genetic diagnostic and drug discovery research firm MedGeneome Labs on Thursday claimed to have developed the first whole genomic sequencing-based test to detect drug-resistant mutation in tuberculosis (TB) bacteria.

“The breakthrough DNA test will enable a doctor to correctly prescribe the most effective drug to a TB patient without a time-consuming trial and error process,” said the city-based clinical data-driven Labs.

Announcing its foray into infectious disease testing in TB, central nervous system (CNS), systemic and eye infections, the company said India had the largest number of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB cases.

Tuberculosis detection
A breakthrough DNA test will enable doctors to correctly prescribe the most effective medicine to a TB patient. Pixabay

“India has the largest number of MDR-TB cases. Our spit sequence can be a boon for TB patients, clinicians and healthcare agencies to achieve the sustainable development goal of eliminating TB by 2025,” Labs Chief Operating Officer V.L. Ramprasad told reporters here.

“The test is based on the whole-genome sequencing of mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), the TB causing bacteria, to assess the mutations in bacteria’s genome and allows a clinician to determine which drug will work for a patient,” he said.

Mumbai-based P.D. Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre head Camilla Rodrigues said the test was validated with 100 samples recording 100 per cent sensitivity and 98.04 per cent specificity compared with line probe assay technology.

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India had the largest number of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB cases. Pixabay

“Of the 100 samples, 50 were tested in our hospital. The findings in the manuscript are under review for publication,” Rodrigues said on the occasion.

Noting that the process of analyzing the drug resistance was long, which is delaying early treatment for MDR-TB patient, Rodrigues said the current expertise allowed testing resistance only on 4 drugs, which makes the patient wait until testing on all possible drugs concluded.

Also Read: The Health Benefits of Testing Your Cortisol Levels

“Direct whole genome sequencing reveals information on drug resistance mutations for all anti-TB drugs in 10 days. Our testing will help to optimise the management of an MDR-TB patient”, she added. (IANS)