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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Before memory slips

Catching Alzheimer’s before Memory Slips
Can a five-minute eye-tracking test warn of disease to come?
February 12, 2015 |By Esther Landhuis

Several scientists outside the company think the test is promising because, unlike other cognitive batteries, it requires no language or motor skills. 
Credit: Vince Alongi/Flickr
Whereas cholesterol levels measured in a routine blood test can serve as a red flag for heart disease, there’s no simple screen for impending Alzheimer’s. A new Silicon Valley health start-up hopes to change that.
A half million Americans die of Alzheimer’s disease each year. Most are diagnosed after a detailed medical workup and extensive neurological and psychological tests that gauge mental function and rule out other causes of dementia. Yet things begin going awry some 10 to 15 years before symptoms show. Spinal fluid analyses and positron emission tomography (PET) scans can detect a key warning sign—buildup of amyloid-beta protein in the brain. Studies suggest that adults with high brain amyloid have elevated risk for Alzheimer’s and stand the best chance of benefiting from treatments should they become available./.../

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