Breakthrough Alzheimer’s Research Can Help High-Risk Individuals
What if there was a simple blood test you could take that could indicate whether or not you have Alzheimer’s before symptoms even show up? And what if, knowing this, you could make lifestyle changes to potentially delay the effects of the disease?
The results of two new studies could lead to exactly that scenario.
Blood Test Reveals Alzheimer’s Before Symptoms Appear
Currently, any Alzheimer’s diagnosis is merely a guess based on symptoms present. The only accurate way to detect Alzheimer’s is through an autopsy. So doctors look at the symptoms and, when Alzheimer’s seems to be the most plausible cause, treat it in ways that have been proven to alleviate Alzheimer’s symptoms. Unfortunately, other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s, and even psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and depression, can cause similar symptoms.
However, a new blood test devised by researchers from Saarland University and Siemens Healthcare in Germany, can detect, with 93 percent accuracy, the presence of Alzheimer’s disease. It can also differentiate, with about 75 percent accuracy, between Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Best of all, the blood test is accurate even before any symptoms show up, which can result in earlier, more effective treatments.
Researchers say the test still needs to be validated for clinical use, and may work best when combined with other diagnostic tools, such as a PET scan.
Additional Research Shows Exercise Can Delay Alzheimer’s Symptoms
Early detection is the key to successfully treating Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. While there is no known cure for the disease, various treatments, from medication to natural treatments and lifestyle changes, can delay symptoms and improve memory function.
New studies show that even light to moderate exercise can help those with Alzheimer’s perform activities of daily living, as well as reduce the risk of depression, a common side effect of the disease.
Presumably, if Alzheimer’s patients can begin exercising even before symptoms show up, they may be able to delay the onset of symptoms and prolong their life.
Prevent Alzheimer’s with Exercise?
Furthermore, the latest research shows that one-out-of-seven Alzheimer’s cases could be prevented with regular exercise. As little as 30 minutes of light exercise a day may prevent Alzheimer’s in healthy individuals.
The Ontario Brain Institute drew these conclusions after reviewing 871 research articles on Alzheimer’s and exercise, and then exploring the 45 most comprehensive studies.
The Bottom Line for Seniors
Many seniors live in fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease. But every day, researchers learn more about the disease, leading to more effective treatments and preventative measures.
This new blood test could not only set people’s minds at ease, but prolong the lives of Alzheimer’s sufferers through early intervention.
If you want to know you’re doing all you can against Alzheimer’s disease, exercise regularly (even housework counts!) and, if you think you may be exhibiting symptoms, talk to your doctor right away.
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