Arguably the most challenging aspect of Alzheimer's disease care is that there is no definitive test to diagnose the condition. Health care professionals can rely on memory tests, genetic predisposition and other indicators to speculate the disease's presence, but until a patient dies there is no way to know for sure. That may soon change, as researchers from Germany's Saarland University believe they are closing in on a potential blood test.
Published in the journal Genome Biology, the scientists' new technique has shown to be surprisingly accurate. Specifically, researchers were interested in 12 biomarkers found in the blood of patients with Alzheimer's. In more than 200 trials using the technique, the study returned an accurate diagnosis 93 percent of the time. The findings are encouraging, but experts urge cautious optimism.
"A blood test to help detect Alzheimer's could be a useful addition to a doctor's diagnostic armory, but such a test must be well validated before it's considered for use," Dr Eric Karran of Alzheimer's Research UK told BBC News. "We need to see these findings confirmed in larger samples, and more work is needed to improve the test's ability to distinguish Alzheimer's from other neurological conditions."
Any potential method to reduce the effects of Alzheimer's is essential for the future of senior living. According to recent estimates from the Rush University Medical Center, the number of Alzheimer's cases could triple by 2050.
Alzheimer's disease is one of the most trying illnesses that affects seniors, burdening families and the U.S. healthcare system. According to the Alzheimer's Association, one in eight older Americans has the disease, which is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country. As of yet, there is no cure. However grim these statistics are, an influx of funding through the National Alzheimer's Project Act has allowed scientists to make great strides in the fight against the condition.
A new paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine may disprove previous claims about the connection between statins and cognitive function. According to Forbes, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2012 that linked statins to memory loss and confusion - an assertion that remained unchallenged until the release of new studies conducted by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University. Analysis of random, controlled trials as well as cross-sectional studies resulted in no conclusive ties between cognitive disorders and statin use, the researchers reported, although they indicated in their conclusion that further research could provide greater insight.
New studies reveal that women over the age of 65 may be at a higher risk of developing dementia if they previously experienced heart issues. According to Reuters, research indicated that residents of senior living who have previously had a heart attack face the highest chances of memory loss, although heart failure and arrhythmia were not definitively linked to cognitive decline.
Stress can have an impact on health in a wide variety of ways. For instance, those who experience high levels of stress often face a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the World Heart Foundation. A new study from Gothenburg University in Sweden found that people who deal with a high level of stressors on a day-to-day level may also have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life, according to results published in BMJ Open.