New Blood Test Could Identify Alzheimer's Early

Published 09/12 2013 12:10PM

Updated 09/12 2013 12:19PM

With a high elderly population here in the Big Country, and on the eve of Alzheimer's Awareness Month, local doctors urge folks to be on the look out for symptoms of the disease.

In this week's local health report, KRBC's Nora Hartfeil looked into a new blood test that can track the development of Alzheimer's.

It's a diagnosis feared by almost everyone as they age.

"As the disease progresses, you may begin to see deficits in language", says Dr. Russell Dickerson, of Abilene Regional Medical Center.

Often times, early stages of Alzheimer's go unnoticed, and there is no sure fire way to diagnose the disease.

"The quest, or the holy grail, has been to find a test that you can do while the patient is still alive that will provide certainty about the diagnosis", explains Dr. Dickerson.

There is no official Alzheimer's test. However, there are cognitive exams, and now, thanks to researchers here in Texas, there is a blood protein test  in the works that can scan for risks of  developing Alzheimer's.

"These proteins of the sort seem to be elevated in patients with Alzheimer's, and we're sure all these patients have Alzheimer's", Dr. Dickerson tells KRBC.

While genetic testing carries risks and a fair amount of controversy on its own, Abilene doctors urge the elderly population to, at the very least, be aware of symptoms.

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