Is There a Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer's Disease?

October 13, 2023
August 24, 2023
Posted by
Bre'anna Wilson
August 24, 2023
Listen to podcast audio.
No items found.

135 | Understanding Verbal Aggression with bvFTD [YouTube Audio]

Jun 19, 2024
0:00
0:00
https://anchor.fm/s/1051ae54/podcast/play/88199683/https%3A%2F%2Fd3ctxlq1ktw2nl.cloudfront.net%2Fstaging%2F2024-5-19%2F828ac702-2be9-9595-e260-44485b9cc675.mp3

T014 | Navigating Food Seeking & Overeating

Jun 21, 2024
0:00
0:00
https://cdn-std.droplr.net/files/acc_205555/UPkc2f?download&response-content-disposition=attachment%3B%20filename%3DTreehouse-Navigating-Food-Seeking-Overeating%2520.mp3
Watch the video.

To make a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease most physicians will look for:

  • the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain
  • the presence of tau tangles in the brain
  • neurodegeneration or shrinking of the brain


They typically do this by looking at imaging tests or analyzing cerebrospinal fluid (by performing a spinal tap, which can be painful).


In the recent few years, researchers have been experimenting with developing blood sample tests that can detect different biomarkers and compounds associated with the disease. So, current blood diagnostic methods can detect abnormalities in plasma amyloid beta and a phosphorylated form of tau, but there is no great way, as of yet, to detect markers of brain neurodegeneration.


Therefore, blood tests results alone cannot be and should not be used to make an official Alzheimer's diagnosis.


However, earlier in 2023, it was announced that there was some promising results in researchers testing the ability to detect Alzheimer's biomarkers through a simple finger prick test. The test was more than 80% accurate in identifying Alzheimer's-related changes. The blood test was found to be more accurate than a PCP's diagnosis and the PCP's who they compared the diagnostic accuracy of the test to admitted that they were less than 50% certain about the diagnosis that they determined after attempting to identify on their own the presence of Alzheimer's-related changes.

However, as of yet, there are only a few blood tests on the market that can be ordered by a healthcare provider to aid in Alzheimer's disease diagnosis and none of them have FDA approval at this time.


So, yes, technically there are blood tests that can HELP diagnose Alzheimer's disease by detecting certain biomarkers or compounds associated with the disease. But, a blood test should not be used as the only diagnostic tool just yet, and physicians should be using a combination of diagnostic tools, medical history gathering, neurological exams, cognitive assessments, brain imaging, and blood tests to make an accurate diagnosis.


If you or someone you know is concerned about dementia-like symptoms including changes in mood and behavior please follow-up with the primary care physician first. The primary care physician can then refer you to a specialist such as a gerontologist, neurologist, and/or neuropsychologist based on their findings.

References: 

https://www.upmc.com/media/news/122722-alzheimers-neurodegeneration

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-alzheimers-disease-diagnosed

https://aaic.alz.org/releases_2023/finger-prick-blood-test-alzheimers-disease.asp

https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/diagnosis/medical_tests

Explore.
You may like these too.

June 10, 2024

Dementia Symptoms: Which Doctor Should You Talk To?

June 6, 2024

10 Reasons a Person with Dementia May Refuse to Eat

May 4, 2024

Bed Rails for People with Dementia

April 23, 2024

6 Things to Know About Hospice Care

April 6, 2024

History and Evolution of Hospice

March 16, 2024

Hiring a Private Caregiver

No items found.