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Blood test will revolutionize the diagnostic work-up of Alzheimer’s disease globally

Cognitive decline and dementia pose significant challenges, costing the global economy a staggering 1 trillion euros annually. Among various forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent, affecting 65-70% of cases. One in five women and one in ten men will develop disabling symptoms due to AD.

AD stems from the buildup of two proteins in the brain: amyloid-β and tau. Recent advancements in treatments targeting these proteins, particularly amyloid-β, have shown promise in slowing down the disease. Consequently, there’s an urgent need for accurate diagnostic tools. Oskar Hansson’s team has been spearheading the development of diagnostic tests that measure a specific tau variant (p-tau217) in the blood, offering highly accurate AD detection. This breakthrough promises to revolutionize AD diagnosis globally, addressing the alarming misdiagnosis rates of 20-30% in specialist care and 40-70% in primary care.

AD silently progresses for 10-30 years before symptoms surface, underscoring the importance of early detection. The novel blood tests can identify AD even in its pre-symptomatic phase, offering the potential for early intervention to halt disease progression before symptoms incapacitate individuals. This advancement holds promise for a future where we can effectively treat and possibly prevent AD, transforming the landscape of dementia care.

Researcher/institution: Professor Oskar Hansson, Clinical Memory Research, Lund University