Alzheimer’s disease may now be detected earlier on by performing tests on a very common bodily fluid — saliva — according to a new medical study.
Medical Daily reports that the new study presented by researchers from the University of Alberta, during the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), shows that “a simple saliva test” may predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease six years in advance.
The AAIC issued a press release on the finding following the presentation of the research results.
“A small but intriguing study suggests it could be possible to detect Alzheimer’s-like changes in saliva, which is easily obtained, safe, and affordable,” the statement read. “But there is a lot of work still to be done.”
— Alzheimer's Assoc. (@alzassociation) July 22, 2015
The Alzheimer’s disease research involved saliva samples, clinical tests, and cognitive data from an ongoing long-term “investigation of human aging,” called the Victoria Longitudinal Study (VLS). Researchers examined the varying amounts of different substances in the saliva of only 82 people who were placed into three groups based on previous Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment diagnoses.
Saliva test may predict Alzheimer's before symptoms appear. http://t.co/t2WSIqe3ci
— UniversityofAlberta (@UAlberta) July 22, 2015
CNN said the three groups were: one group of 35 individuals experiencing normal metal aging conditions, another group of 25 diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, and a third group of 22 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. A different group of 27 individuals were tested to validate the results of the original 82.
According to Newsweek, a “special technology” was used to measure the levels of different protein substances in the saliva. A relation was found between the levels of some these protein substances and the individual’s Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment diagnosis.
The reason the new Alzheimer’s disease findings are so significant is saliva is abundantly available in any person and is easily portable. Saliva tests are also more affordable. Other Alzheimer’s diagnostic tests have proven to be much more costly and may seem quite invasive for some people.
While more research is still to be performed to validate the Alzheimer’s disease study, this new finding may help in limiting the effects of Alzheimer’s disease once it is detected in its early stages. Earlier treatment and medication have proven to help maintain the mental health of an Alzheimer’s disease patient.
The latest Alzheimer’s disease finding has not yet been published nor peer-reviewed and still requires much more scientific work. And because the sample size was very small for a proper medical study, scientists believe the results could have easily been incidental.
While the saliva test study still requires more scientific work, it still offers hope for many potential Alzheimer’s disease patients in the near future.
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