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Blood test may aid foretell Alzheimer's

e folks with mild dementia.

Alzheimer's is a difficult disease to detect and doctors usually are not able to diagnose it or treat symptoms until the condition has progressed into more advanced stages. There is no cure for Alzheimer's but scientists are interested in an early screening test because earlier detection could mean starting treatment before symptoms -- such as forgetfulness, disorientation and dementia -- become unbearable.

"There's a tremendous ethical question for diagnosing (early) a disease for which this is no cure," James L. Olds, a professor of neuroscience at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and director of the Krasnow Institute, cautioned in an interview with UPI.

He said since there is no cure and limited treatment, telling a person they have Alzheimer's when there is no cure means that person must knowingly live with it for a longer period of time -- while they still have most of their cognitive capabilities -- rather than being told when the disease has progressed to the point they are not able to fully comprehend.

That does not mean, however, a blood test would not be useful in understanding what is taking place in the brain, he added. "If we assume what's happening in the blood is happening in the brain," he said, "that's a big red flag that things aren't going well."


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