New tests more accurate

Medical researchers are getting closer to establishing a standard set of markers for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The new criteria are contained in an article in the April, 1998 issue of the journal, Neurobiology of Aging, and several other recent studies.

The result is a new standard for judging claims of current and future diagnostic markers of AD. Diagnostic markers are important aids in the detection of AD, particularly early in the disease.

Results from the ApoE-4 genetic test — which detects the presence of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene in the DNA of a patient’s blood — don’t provide enough evidence on their own to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. But, researchers have discovered that when the ApoE test is administered along with a thorough examination of the patient, the validation of a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is greatly improved

Previous studies have shown quite a high incidence of doctors diagnosing Alzheimer’s in patients who are in fact suffering from other forms of dementia. The new genetic tests will help patients and their families deal with these difficult situations in an enlightened manner.