A collaboration of around 20 scientists from the US have analyzed data on more than 4,000 people with late Alzheimer's disease and called for a new approach to classify patients.
In fact, they say Alzheimer's diagnosis must splitt condition into at least six subgroups delivering more personalized treatments. "Alzheimer's, like breast cancer, is not one disease," affirmed lead author Shubhabrata Mukherjee, research assistant professor in general internal medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The team also used genetic data to see if they could find solid biological distinctions between the groups. They discovered different associations.
Current predictions estimate that the number of people with Alzheimer’s in the US will increase from 5.7 million in 2018 to 14 million by 2050. Currently the only way to definitively diagnose Alzheimer's disease in life is through brain scans and tests of cerebrospinal fluid that must be collected via lumbar puncture. Researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in the US are working to develop a blood test that could replace these procedures. Researchers identified a subset of proteins which are specifically elevated in Alzheimer's disease. They developed tests capable of detecting them in cerebrospinal fluid and blood. Larger groups of participants will need to be studied but the hope is to have soon an easy applicable test capable to predict Alzheimer's disease earlier. This, and more personalized treatment are two steps in the right direction to limit new cases based on the advanced knowledge medicine will have.