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Old 05-28-2009, 04:56 AM
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Default New Non Invasive Alzheimers Test in Late Development

There is no definitive test for AD at the moment and in a some cases it can only be determined after an autopsy. This new test may be a major breakthrough in early diagnosis.

Newsmax.com - Early Alzheimer&#39s Test in Late Development

Early Alzheimer's Test in Late Development
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 9:18 AM

A research institute devoted to Alzheimer's and related diseases has teamed up with a major maker of diagnostic tests to speed development of what could be the first test to detect Alzheimer's in its early stages.
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.

"This may be a way of monitoring how effective a treatment is for Alzheimer's disease" as well, through periodic retesting once scientists can develop a medicine to stop the mind-robbing disease, Alkon told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

Alkon's institute, based at West Virginia University and affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, on Wednesday was to announce a multimillion-dollar contract with Inverness Medical Innovations Inc. of Waltham, Mass. Inverness will fund development of the Alzheimer's test and future improvements, including an eventual home version, for at least three years.

The test works by detecting abnormal function of a protein that has been shown to be involved in memory storage, Alkon said.

First, a small sample of cells is removed from a patient's skin at a doctor's office or testing center and shipped to the institute. There, scientists grow the skin cells in a glass dish and add a substance to stimulate an enzyme called PKC to make the protein combine with the element phosphorous inside the skin cells. If too much phosphorous ends up in the combination, then the patient has Alzheimer's, Alkon said.

So far, the test has been tried on more than 300 patients at 15 hospitals, including 42 for whom the Alzheimer's diagnosis was later confirmed by an autopsy showing the disease's signature pattern of brain damage � the only definitive way to diagnose it.

The test was 98 percent accurate on the autopsied patients. But of those, only 11 had early Alzheimer's, as very few people die within three or four years of the disease starting. Alkon hopes to test thousands more patients before his diagnostic test is marketed.

Dr. Ralph Nixon, vice chairman of the Alzheimer's Association's medical and scientific advisory council, said the institute's test needs more evaluation, particularly among patients with early symptoms, to determine its accuracy. Researchers elsewhere also need to be able to duplicate the results.
"I think it's a potentially promising direction ... that has some basis in the science of Alzheimer's disease," said Nixon, a professor of psychiatry and cell biology at New York University School of Medicine.

Currently, diagnosis of early Alzheimer's often is wrong, because it's based on evaluating a patient's behavior and trying to rule out other causes for symptoms such as forgetfulness.
Nixon said early diagnosis would help patients plan their future and even take steps to slow the disease, such as improving their diet and getting more "mental exercise" or getting into a clinical study of one of the many promising experimental drugs.

Alkon said his group's test might be particularly helpful for people with a family history of Alzheimer's worried about their risk.
"It's not invasive," he said, an advantage over tests in development that require painful removal of cerebrospinal fluid. He said the test would only cost a few hundred dollars, making it much cheaper than advanced brain imaging, which can show a pattern of plaque buildup in the brain that indicates a person might eventually develop Alzheimer's.

Meanwhile, the institute just got U.S. approval to start its first small test in Alzheimer's patients of what might turn out to be a treatment, what Alkon describes as an "incredibly potent" natural substance that activates the PKC enzyme.*

"It's not unreasonable," Nixon said, but it's too early to tell whether that approach would work.

Inverness makes the Home Check consumer test for abuse of illegal and prescription drugs, plus tests for doctors and hospitals to determine pregnancy, fertility, cholesterol levels and early stage bladder cancer.
The institute was founded by West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller in memory of his mother, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller, who died of Alzheimer's disease.
* The natural product mentioned due for a clinical trial is probably EGb 761 (a drug made out of standardized gingko biloba).

EGb 761 enhances adult hippocampal neurogenesis and phosphorylation of CREB in transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease -- Tchantchou et al. 21 (10): 2400 -- The FASEB Journal





Last edited by liverock; 05-28-2009 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:41 PM
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Marilyn is on a distinguished road

I lost my mother to this disease and she had several siblings with it also. I wonder if I would have the nerve to test for it........It's so sad and seems to be on the increase. I've heard it called diabetes of the brain. Curcumin would be an easy supplement to add as would ginkgo. I wonder how much is considered therapeutic?
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:36 PM
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I thought the following might be of interest for those who do not get the Daily Dose newsletter from WC Douglas

Irregular heartbeat linked to dementia

Alzheimer's researchers are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to find the cause for Alzheimer's disease. The latest study links Alzheimer's disease to the incidence of abnormal heartbeat.

After studying the medical records of a 37,000 patients treated in Wyoming, Dr. T. Jared Bunch, an electrophysicist, uncovered a frightening statistic: atrial fibrillation sufferers under the age of 70 were 130 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.

Bunch thinks this insight into the link between atrial fibrillation and dementia could very well be a new path to a cure.

It's a staggering figure, to be sure. But right now it's only a statistical measure. Bunch and his team can't determine what the exact link is between irregular heartbeat and dementia. It's thought that heart beat issues lead to blood flow issues, which, in turn, can deny oxygen to certain areas of the brain.

Whether or not this link turns out to be valid, an irregular heartbeat is nothing to mess around with. Irregular heartbeats (also called arrhythmias) greatly increase the risk of cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death.

Symptoms of an irregular heartbeat can include palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or even fatigue. If you begin to notice signs of these signs, be sure to go to your doctor.

Bringing you good news about natural cures,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

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Old 05-31-2009, 06:54 PM
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Drinking coffee may decrease your Alzheimer's risk...here is a link to an article from January 2009

Another study found that anti-psychotic drugs used to treat Alzheimer's disease can double a person's risk of dying.

Starbucks- 1

Prescription Drugs- 0
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