welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Friday, May 15, 2020

alzheimers news-blood test for alzheimers

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when you do an evaluation of someone with memory loss to rule out azheimers and other dementias there is a fairly standard way to do the evaluation

do a good history and physical evaluation

do screening labs like a cbc thyroid levels and a complete metabolic profile for glucose liver functions kidney functions electrolytes etc

do an in office memory test like the mmse or moca
if its abnormal or if the history shows the need a more involved neuropyschological exam is done

do an mri if the above doesnt give you a diagnosis
this rules out masses or tumors or brain shrinkage or increased fluid or stroke or some vascular abnormalities

most of the time the workup can end here
since the diagnosis can be made

if needed more testing can be done
usually insurance doesnt pay for these extra tests

an amyvid pet scan for amyloid can be done
if a person has alzheimers it will be positive
sometimes folks who dont have alzheimers will have a positive scan
if again if you have alzheimers even if you are early in the disease process the scan will be positive

a spinal tap for amyloid and tau analysis of the spinal fluid
the amyloid and tau levels are abnormal in alzheimers disease

after all these tests above you can usually tell someone with a good degree of accuracy if they have alzheimers or not

of course
these last two tests are not covered by insurance and can cost several thousands of dollars
the amyvid pet scan is around $5000+
i paid over a $1000 for my spinal fluid analysis 10 years ago

researchers have been looking for an accurate blood test that can be ran on a persons blood so they dont have to have the expensive and uncomfortable amyvid scan and spinal tap

they are close but not there yet

recently as described in this article linked here
researchers at mcgill university may have found the blood test
also linked in that article is the original article on this blood test in the medical journal the lancet

as alzheimers develops amyloid accumulates first leaving plaques of amyloid that kills brain cells
the amyvid pet scan identifies the amyloid
its an expensive test

later proteins in the nerve cells called tau unravel and form tangles that get deposited in the brain
these also kill brain cells
the spinal tap can identify when this tau accumulation happens and also the amyloid accumulation
its well a spinal tap and it cost a thousand bucks to do the test

if you could do a good accurate blood test you could bypass these two test

at mcgill researchers think they have found it

the protein is called ptau181 which can be measured in the blood and seems to be accurate
even early on

when compared to the amyvid pet scan and  the spinal tap for amyloid and tau it was just as accurate as the amyvid pet scan and the spinal fluid analysis

if you want you can read the article and go to the original scientific the lancet article to get more details
this is my simple version of what it says

so at a much lower cost you might be able to do a blood test in your primary care providers office for the ptau182 blood test to go along with all the other workup that they do ie the history and exam and the other blood tests mentioned above and the memory test and the mri scan

when this is all done then you should have an accurate diagnosis without all the expensive and uncomfortable testing of the amyvid scan and the spinal tap fluid

these are all tests that a primary care provider would be able to do

i sure hope this blood test for the ptau181 protein ends up to be the one we have been waiting on

the organicgreen doctor

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