Alzheimer’s can be detected through skin test

Alzheimer’s affects millions of people around the world. This disease occurs when tiny fragments of protein, called amyloid plaques, clump together & stick to the outside of brain cells. As these clumps get bigger, they stop the nerve cells from talking to each other. One of the main symptoms is loss of short-term memory. Other signs include lack of concentration, confusion and a tendency to wander aimlessly.

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Now the simple skin test can detect the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. This test would help to start the treatment earlier. It works by looking for signs of inflammation in tiny skin cells. Initial results suggest it's up to 98 % accurate in detecting the condition. At the moment, there's no simple way to diagnose Alzheimer's.

Doctors often rely on relatives' descriptions of behavioral changes or memory loss to make an initial diagnosis. A simple test that picks up the early signs would mean treatment can start earlier. Though there is no cure, there are drugs that can slow its progression. Early diagnosis also means patients & their families can get access to care & plan for the future.

The test works by monitoring the behavior of a certain enzyme in the body. Previous research has shown this enzyme is more active in the brain of those with Alzheimer's. The enzyme is also found in skin cells. By exposing it to a chemical stimulant that causes inflammation, they can gauge how active the enzyme is in the brain.

First, the patient has a tiny amount of skin cells scraped from their arm, a painless procedure which takes seconds. These cells are then exposed to the stimulant. The test measures the way the enzyme reacts, converting the results into a simple score that indicates how likely it is the patient has Alzheimer's.

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