Possible Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Shows Early Promise
Researchers in Japan and Australia say they have made progress in developing a blood test that could one day help doctors identify who might get Alzheimer's disease.
The scientists said the test can recognize a protein known as amyloid beta, which other studies have linked to Alzheimer's. They said it was correct more than 90 percent of the time in a study involving over 370 people.
The findings were published in the journal Nature.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. Experts believe dementia affects close to 50-million people worldwide. By the year 2050, it is expected to affect more than 131 million people. Those numbers come from Alzheimer's Disease International, a non-profit group.
Currently, doctors have two ways to identify a buildup of amyloid beta in the brain. One is a brain scan or brain imaging; the other is invasive cerebrospinal fluid testing, also known as a spinal tap. But both tests are invasive, costly and may only show results when the disease has already started to progress.
There is no treatment that can slow the progression of Alzheimer's. Current drugs can only ease some of the effects of the disease.
Having a simple, low-cost blood test could make it easier for drug companies to find enough people who are at risk of developing Alzheimer's to test new medicines, said Katsuhiko Yanagisawa. He was one of the leaders of the study. He works at the Japanese National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology.
Alzheimer's disease is thought to start developing years before patients have any signs of memory loss. Experts say an important factor in finding an effective treatment will be the ability to recognize signs of the disease early.
"You have got to walk before you run," said Colin Masters, a co-leader of the study and a professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
"You have to learn to diagnose the disease directly before you can hope to see the effect of therapeutic intervention. And that's where the real value in this test will come," Masters added.
The study involved 252 Australian and 121 Japanese patients. They were all between 60 and 90 years old.
Scientists not directly involved in the study said it made an important step, but now the findings need to be confirmed.
Mark Dallas is a teacher at Britain's University of Reading. He said, "if (it) can be repeated in a larger number of people, this test will give us an insight into changes occurring in the brain that relate to Alzheimer's disease."
Abdul Hye works at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. He said the blood test was still a long way from being able to be used in medical centers.
John Hardy is a professor of neuroscience at University College London. He said it was a "hopeful study," one that could improve diagnostic accuracy.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.blood test 血液检测
This blood test will show whether or not you're immune to the disease
2.medical center 医学中心
I left the office, but returned in minutes from the medical center lobby.
3.known as 被称为
China has always been known as a land of propriety and righteousness.
4.relate to 与...有关
All these questions relate to philosophy.
5.He said, "if (it) can be repeated in a larger number of people, this test will give us an insight into changes occurring in the brain that relate to Alzheimer's disease."
a larger number of 大量的
When dealing with a larger number of items, using of cards may become impractical.
If his budget is divided by a larger number of contributors, his contribution is smaller.
6.Having a simple, low-cost blood test could make it easier for drug companies to find enough people who are at risk of developing Alzheimer's to test new medicines.
at risk of 处于...的危险
He saved three children alive at risk of his life.
An estimated seven million people are at risk of starvation.
研究人员表示，验血可以检测出一种名为“β淀粉样蛋白”的物质，其它研究证明，这种蛋白质与阿尔茨海默病有关 。他们表示，在一项涉及370多人的研究中，测试的准确率超90% 。
阿尔茨海默病是最常见的痴呆症 。专家认为，痴呆症影响着全球近5000万人 。预计到2050年，这一数据将会超过1.31亿人 。这些数据由非营利性组织国际阿尔茨海默病协会提供 。
目前，医生有两种办法确诊积聚在大脑中的β淀粉样蛋白 。其一是大脑扫描或大脑成像，另一种是侵入性脑脊髓液检查，就是“脊髓液穿刺” 。但是这两种办法具有侵入性，成本高昂，而且只能在患病时才能检测出来 。
目前没有任何治疗能够控制阿尔茨海默病的发展 。药物只能缓解这种疾病带来的一些影响 。
平贺柳泽（Katsuhiko Yanagisawa）表示，一种简单、低成本的血液检测方法能够让制药公司更容易寻找大量可能患老年痴呆症风险的人来检测新药物 。平贺柳泽是这项研究的负责人之一，他任职于日本国立老年医学和病学中心 。
据信，阿尔茨海默病在患者产生任何失忆迹象的几年前已经发病 。专家们表示，找到有效治疗方法的一个重要因素就是及早发现这种疾病的征兆 。
这项研究的联合负责人——澳大利亚墨尔本大学教授及科林·马斯特斯（Colin Masters）表示：“我们必须循序渐进 。”
马斯特斯表示：“在看到治疗性干预效果之前，必须先学会直接诊断出疾病 。这就是血液检测的真正价值 。”
该研究涉及了252名澳大利亚患者和121名日本患者 。他们的年龄均在60到90岁之间 。
马克·达拉斯（Mark Dallas）是英国雷丁大学的老师 。他说：“如果它可以在多数人身上重复得到证实，那么这项检测能让我们了解与阿尔茨海默病有关的大脑变化 。”
阿卜杜勒（Abdul Hye）就职于伦敦国王学院精神病学、心理学和神经学学院 。他指出，血液检测在医疗中心的应用道阻且长 。
约翰·哈迪（John Hardy）是伦敦大学学院的神经学教授 。他说，这是一项“充满曙光的研究，”能够提高诊断的准确性 。