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Another Blood Test for Alzheimer's Shows Promise
Date:8/3/2011

ists. So it would be wonderful to detect people several years before they have symptoms so we can slow down or halt the progression of the disease."

Currently, Alzheimer's is diagnosed after people start having memory problems or other unusual changes in behavior. They undergo a detailed medical interview, a memory assessment test and sometimes an MRI to look for brain shrinkage, Nagele said.

Nagele is seeking a commercial partner and will seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market the test for use in diagnosing Alzheimer's in the upcoming months, he said.

The study was funded by an investment in Durin Technologies by the Foundation Venture Capital Group LLC, a New Jersey Health Foundation affiliate that invests in start-up companies founded by researchers at UMDNJ. Co-author Eric Nagele is also a paid consultant to Durin and co-author Benjamin Belinka is Durin's CEO.

Discussing the Alzheimer's test, Buchman noted the research was far from definitive. He pointed out that the average age of the Alzheimer's patients was nearly 80, while the age of the controls was 40. That means researchers did not prove that the autoantibodies were necessarily related to Alzheimer's, but instead could be a product of something else, such as aging.

Thomas Kodadek, a professor of chemistry and cancer biology at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., raised another criticism. Although researchers found a statistical association between the presence of the autoantibodies and Alzheimer's, he said, the lack of understanding about the purpose of autoantibodies or what they have to do with dementia may make acceptance of such a test by physicians more difficult.

"What a physician would like to know is, here is a marker that is somehow associated with the disease in a way a physician can understand, such as cholesterol and heart disease," he said. "It's not really known what autoantibodies do or why they are there. Most o
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