Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Blood Test May Spot Alzheimer's Before Symptoms Appear

Test Looks for Antibodies Specific to Alzheimer's Disease

New Blood Test for Alzheimer's: How It Works continued...

The researchers found thousands of these antibodies. "Many of these are related to the presence of the disease," Nagele says.

Nagele's team looked at blood samples from 50 people with Alzheimer's disease and 40 without. They also looked at blood samples from 30 breast cancer patients and 29 with Parkinson's disease, to be sure the test could be specific for Alzheimer's.

"Parkinson's and Alzheimer's are very close in terms of their pathology," Nagele says. "Neurons are dying in both cases."

He wanted to see if the test could tell Alzheimer's and Parkinson's apart.

Overall, the tests identified 96% of those with Alzheimer's correctly. It correctly identified 92.5% of those who didn't have Alzheimer's.

In the process, Nagele narrowed down the list of antibody biomarkers needed to detect Alzheimer's disease to 10.

The hope is to detect the disease before symptoms appear, but Nagele stresses his team has not yet done that.

If all goes well, he is hopeful the test could be available within a year. Costs are difficult to estimate, but it could be about $200, he tells WebMD.

New Blood Test for Alzheimer's: Perspective

Snyder calls the report exciting but also had many caveats. "I would call it preliminary," she says of Nagele's research. "It's a small study and a small sample."

As research on blood and other tests for Alzheimer's progresses, Snyder says, the measures must be standardized so people get the same results regardless of where the test is performed.

That has been an issue, for instance, in some cerebral spinal fluid tests, also being studied to detect Alzheimer's. "What we have seen, at least in cerebral spinal fluid [tests], is that it hasn't held up across different labs," she says.

She acknowledges some people may not want to know if the disease is in their future, but says knowing early has many advantages. "They can plan for their financial future, as well as their care," she says. "They can participate in clinical trials. When we do have therapeutic options available, the ultimate goal would be intervention."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
 
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
 
Checklist
ARTICLE
eating blueberries
ARTICLE
 
clock
Article
Colored mri of brain
ARTICLE
 
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
VIDEO
mature woman
ARTICLE
 
Woman comforting ailing mother
ARTICLE
Senior woman with serious expression
ARTICLE