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, September 22, 2023

alzheimers news-will a skin biopsy tell you


no not a biopsy of the brain
that doesnt sound good
it seems ripe for something to go wrong
like infection nicking a blood vessel hitting the wrong spot eg
now i had two spinal taps as part of the first alzheimers study i did called the adni 2 study
i had no problem but on the second one he did stick my nerve and i felt a bolt of lightning go down to my big toe but it quickly went away
i did say a four letter word when it happened
i had no problems afterwards

well my wife she did
she fainted and she wasnt even in the room when i got my spinal tap
she was in the waiting room
she required care not me
i even had to drive to the pet scanner since she was too woozy to drive

this last week i went to the dermatologist
i had a mole he wanted to biopsy so he removed it with a simple biopsy

i use to do them all the time
i used a punch biopsy
for this one you would use one the size of an ink pen opening
you know where the ink pen pokes through
my guess thats about 3 mm in diameter

now it may be possible to do a skin biopsy to tell if you have alzheimers disease

you just do a local injection to numb the area
use a punch to take out say a 3 mm piece of skin
then put a bandaid over it

the specimen would be sent to be read to see if you have alzheimers disease or parkinsons
your primary care doctor could easily do the biopsy
takes about 5 minutes to do

here is a review of the discern test by the american academy of neurology
they did skin biopsies on patients who had brain biopsies at autopsy
they found the discern skin biopsy was 95% accurate sensitivity and specificity

those with alzheimers have a 7 times increase in tau proteins in the skin biopsy
those with parkinisons have an 8 times increase in alpha synuclein proteins

now you still need a good neurological history and exam
some labs
memory testing
maybe an mri

then to definitively diagnose alzheimers you can do 
a blood test thats available in research but eventually will be available in private practice
a spinal tap checking for amyloid and tau levels in the spinal fluid-ouch
an amyloid pet scan to check for amyloid plaques and or a tau pet scan for tau tangles
just just get a punch biopsy for a discern test 

the skin test sounds so easy 
the blood test is really a screen test for now
the spinal tap is accurate but many folks wont or cant get one
just dont bring your spouse

the amyloid pet scan is the definitive gold standard test and also gives you more information

the discern skin biopsy test will give you the answer also
plus medicare pays for it

last week i thought about this as the dermatologist was biopsying my mole
add an alzheimers skin test to that study i started to say to double check all my testing i have had done 
no i didnt

physicians may use this test to decide if someone with memory issues really has alzheimers disease so they can decide if eg aricept or donepezil is needed
if my drug aduhelm or the new one leqembi or soon to be here donanemab would be administered
right now an amyloid pet scan is required first 

who would have thought a skin biopsy could verify you have alzheimers or parkinsons

join me for our santa barbara walk to end alzheimers on saturday october 14th
join us and or donate to our organicgreendoctor team 
or do your own local walk

the organicgreen doctor

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