The sooner Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed, the better the chance the drugs will work, according to health expert-Health News, Firstpost


A promising avenue for early diagnosis is to detect biomarkers – biological signatures of lesions caused by the disease.

Globally, around 50 million people suffer from dementia, of which almost 60% live in low- and middle-income countries and every year there are around 10 million new cases.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is characterized by brain damage that can cause devastating memory loss and behavioral changes. It affects some 30 million people around the world.

Decades of research have failed to produce a reliable cure, prevention or treatment.

On the occasion of World Alzheimer’s Day, expert Bruno Dubois tells AFP why one of the most promising treatment options depends on early diagnosis.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Are we close to effective treatment?

The key is to make a diagnosis as early as possible, because we are almost certain that we have medications that will work better the sooner they are prescribed.

These treatments act on the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease but are only effective in the first phase of the disease. By the time a patient has advanced symptoms, it is too late, we cannot repair the damage already done.

How to detect Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms appear?

A promising avenue for early diagnosis is to detect biomarkers – biological signatures of lesions caused by the disease.

Before, we needed sophisticated brain imaging or lumbar punctures to detect them. Today, blood tests are starting to give promising results (on large cohorts), although they are not yet reliable at the individual level.

We may soon be able to identify people at risk who are asymptomatic but have lesions, this is still an area of ​​active research.

Is this method alone enough to diagnose someone?

No. We are not at all ready to use these techniques in clinical practice.

The presence of lesions does not necessarily mean that the disease will develop, so there is a great risk that all patients with lesions will be seen as potentially sick.

We don’t want to expose people to potentially dangerous drugs to prevent a disease they might never get in the first place. You can destroy a person’s will to live by telling them that they are going to get Alzheimer’s disease, when in fact, they might never have it at all.

For an older patient, say 75 years old, with memory impairment confirmed by tests, who becomes disoriented on time or in a new neighborhood, and who does not remember recent events, in this case biological tests for them. lesions are justified.

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