By: Kecia Lilly
This is great news… but preceded by some bad news, but it’s okay, because we’ll finish this article strong.
There’s a lot of funding being funneled into Alzheimer’s research – and for good reason. 44 million people (in the world) are suffering from dementia and by 2050 that number is expected to triple. This is a crisis as it’s a neurodegenerative disorder and retirement ages are growing and the caregiver/senior care industry is running low on employees. To take care of elders with dementia, the global cost is approximately $600 billion (Source: Alzheimer’s Society).
Okay, so are you ready for the truly terrifying part?
According to Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy (alzrez.com), over 99% of the research, tests, and trials conducted over the last decade (from 2002 to 2012) have failed to prevent, or even reverse, Alzheimer’s Disease.
However! As prefaced in the first sentence of this article, there is good news
New Alzheimer’s Blood Test Prediction
At Oxford University, they’ve conducted a blood test that, so far, has seen 87% accuracy in determining which patients are going to develop from Alzheimer’s Disease in the coming years.
For too long, when seniors have walked into a doctor’s office or clinic suffering from common dementia symptoms, doctors have been unable to make a diagnosis. Professor Simon Lovestone of Oxford recounts the tragedy in having to tell people to wait and see if their condition worsens. That’s a terrible feeling to walk away from – for either party.
One of the things we’ve harped on a lot is how Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a default diagnosis. The reason this is so shocking is because over 70% of dementias are caused by AD and we don’t truly know what AD is – only what it is not.
So, while 87% isn’t enough to warrant making this blood test standard for all doctor’s offices, it does have the greenlight for continued research.
The Blood Test
The study was conducted with over 1,100 people, some were completely healthy, others were already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and some had cognitive impairment. Essentially, the blood test looks for specific proteins and depending on the amount could determine the likelihood that someone will develop Alzheimer’s.
Again, the reason this is so pivotal is because once we have identified the cause (to the leading cause() of dementia, we begin to understand, treat, and potentially go on to prevent this disease. Credit for calling this a “technical tour de force” goes to Dr. Eric Karran, the director of research at Alzheimer’s Research in the United Kingdom.
And without getting too preachy about where our country’s priorities are… it would be nice to see more funding being used in America. As the Alzheimer’s Society pointed out, the UK spends over eight times as much funding towards cancer and Alzheimer’s research than in America.