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One-Drop Blood Test May Detect Alzheimer's in People With Down Syndrome


A study is being done on a one-drop blood test that could detect Alzheimer’s disease earlier in people with Down syndrome.

Doctors at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix are performing the test on people with Down syndrome because of their high risk of dementia, the Associated Press reported. The test is designed to detect genetic indicators of the beginning of memory loss in people with Down syndrome before they notice it themselves.

Alzheimer’s disease occurs three to five times more often among people with Down syndrome than the general population, according to Alzheimers.gov. People with Down syndrome are also more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease at a younger age than adults who don’t have the condition.

Early detection of the disease could mean better preventative treatment for patients.

“We would love to be able to detect on a blood test if you’re going to get Alzheimer’s five, 10, 20 years from now,” Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, the study leader, told the AP. “Then we could apply a prevention strategy in advance of the onset of symptoms.”

It’s too early in the study to determine now whether the one-drop blood test will lead to earlier detection for the general population, not just people with Down syndrome.

h/t KSTAR News