Up until now, the only feasible ways to definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s disease have been a spinal tap and a PET brain scan, which are expensive and involved options. Because most people cannot afford thousands of dollars for tests like these, the most common way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia has been to simply observe the patient’s behavior.
But we’ve dreamed for so long of a simple, inexpensive, and accurate way to diagnose the disease. And after years of research and hard work, it’s finally here.
That’s right. There’s finally a blood test available in the U.S. to definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Soon, the days of waiting for symptoms to show up in order to know whether Alzheimer’s disease is present or not. This test will fill a major gap in the journey to diagnosis for many people.
The test, developed by C2N Diagnostics in St. Louis, Missouri, will not be covered by insurance or Medicare, and it’s currently still fairly expensive at $1,250. But hopefully, time will change all that. The longer the test exists and the cheaper pharmaceutical companies can learn to mass-produce it, the more inexpensive it will become, making it more accessible to more people.
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The blood test has not been approved by the FDA yet, but it can still be sold under “more general rules for commercial labs.” It is meant for people aged 60 years and older who are already being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease does not currently have a cure, but knowing about the disease early can help patients get treatments to prolong their mental functioning and help them live independently for longer. It can also help them get the help they need before they become a danger to themselves.
“You can’t treat the disease without being able to diagnose it,” one researcher said about the new test. “And accurate, low-cost diagnosis is really exciting, so it’s a breakthrough.”
Critics say more data needs to be published on the test’s accuracy in order for it to be a good fit for the American people. But it’s at least a small step forward during a time in history when it often feels like we’re at a standstill in terms of Alzheimer’s-related medical advances.Whizzco