June 18, 2009
Prospect For Alzheimer's Disease Skin Test

A skin test holds out the prospect of a much earlier detection of Alzheimer's. disease.

A novel test that detects enzymes that are dysfunctional in patients with Alzheimer's disease--and that are found both in the brain and in skin cells--is about to undergo large clinical trials. Researchers at the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI), in Morgantown, WV, who developed the diagnostic have also garnered approval from the Food and Drug Administration to test in humans an experimental drug that activates the enzymes--a mechanism that represents a new therapeutic approach to Alzheimer's.

One likely consequence of such a test: It will increase the number of people who support the developmetn of therapies to stop the disease. If millions of people can be told a few years earlier than they are about to develop Alzheimer's symptoms then they'll form a bigger political interest group demanding a cure before they lose their memories.

This skin test might hit the market by late 2010.

If all goes well, the first commercial version of the test could be available in 12 to 18 months, possibly enabling patients to try to slow progression of the increasingly common disease, said Dr. Daniel Alkon, scientific director of the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute.

The cerebrospinal also contains biomarkers that predict occurrence of Alzheimer's.

"The patients who had the typical changes in biomarker profile of the cerebrospinal fluid had a risk of deterioration that was 27 times higher than the control group. We could also see that all patients with mild cognitive impairment who deteriorated and developed Alzheimer's disease had these changes in the biomarker profile of their cerebrospinal fluid", says Kaj Blennow.

The scientists were also able to show a relationship between the profile of biomarkers and other typical signs of the disease, such as the presence of the gene APOE e4 and atrophy of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain cortex that controls memory.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 June 18 10:32 PM  Brain Alzheimers Disease

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