A new test for early-on detection of Alzheimer’s Disease has been developed by researchers at the University of Alberta. It is based on saliva.
Yes, the abundant substance can be tested to reveal the neurodegenerative disease in its incumbency, while the changing processes are still taking place in the brain.
Currently, the difference between the brain of a patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and that of a healthy patient is easily noticeable for medics. Yet, it is not so clear what triggers the neurodegenerative disease, nor how could it be detected before it fully affects a patient’s neurological functions.
The saliva test developed by the researchers of Canada’s University of Alberta has the potential to change this. The results of the initial trial have been presented in Washington during the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2015.
Heather Snyder, who is the director of the Alzheimer’s Association medical and scientific operations stated:
“As the field has continued to mature over the last decade or so, we now have research and evidence that suggests that the underlying biology of Alzheimer’s disease is changing a decade or more before someone experiences the memory or function changes associated with Alzheimer’s”.
Indeed, that is what the research team discovered. While looking at saliva samples collected from approximately 100 participants, the research team discovered that there are biomarkers in the saliva of people that are specific for the group that experienced mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease.
The participants in the study were divided in three groups. 35 participants were included in the group mirroring normal aging condition. 25 other were included in the group presenting mild cognitive impairment. And another 22 participants were included in the group already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Based on protein analysis, the research focused on the metabolites found in the saliva samples, amounting to more than 6,000 such molecules. Of the saliva samples, the ones pertaining to the the last two groups were found to be specific and not present in the saliva samples of the first group.
This study has been validated via a new study comprising only 27 participants, but using the same methodology.
While more tests are certainly needed until the saliva test can be largely used as a tool for detecting the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, it has proven its efficiency, both medically, and costwise.
Photo Credits doktori.mk
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