A blood test that can detect Alzheimer’s disease a decade before diagnosis might be possible, suggests new research published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington, DC.
The research is very early, the sample size is small and a commercial test is not yet available, but study authors found a way to measure insulin resistance in the brain—a symptom indicative of Alzheimer’s disease. The blood test can detect disease up to 10 years before clinical onset, the study found. Intercepting the degenerative disease early is important, since behavioral interventions might stall the disease and slow mental decline.
Researchers analyzed the blood of living patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their frozen blood samples taken 1-10 years before being diagnosed. Based on their blood levels of an insulin receptor called IRS-1, researchers could accurately tell which samples came from someone with Alzheimer’s, even up to a decade before diagnosis.