In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have developed a blood test for Alzheimer's disease that predicts with astonishing accuracy whether a healthy person will develop the disease.
Though much work still needs to be done, it is hoped the test will someday be available in doctors' offices, since the only methods for predicting Alzheimer's right now, such as PET scans and spinal taps, are expensive, impractical, often unreliable and sometimes risky.
"This is a potential game-changer," said Dr. Howard Federoff, senior author of the report and a neurologist at Georgetown University Medical Center. "My level of enthusiasm is very high."
The study was published in Nature Medicine.
In the beginning, the researchers knew they wanted to find a blood test to detect Alzheimer's but didn't know what specifically to look for. Should they examine patients' DNA? Their RNA? Or should they look for the byproducts of DNA and RNA, such as fats and proteins?