A new study has found that a certain kind of protein can be measured in order to ascertain the severity of Alzheimer's disease in a patient. More importantly, the discovery indicates that the illness is located in the blood and may be diagnosed in the future through biomarkers.
For a two-year period, researchers evaluated the levels of the protein, clusterin, in 96 Alzheimer's patients and a sample of 926 randomly selected participants.
They found that those who had the higher levels of clusterin were also more likely to develop dementia.
Researchers are hopeful that this could help families plan for Alzheimer's care, because measuring the amount of clusterin in the blood could help determine how quickly a decline will come.
Most are decidedly guarded about their optimism. Greg Cole, the associate director of the Alzheimer's Center at the University of California Los Angeles, said that he doesn't think that the testing is "ready" for this kind of application quite yet.
Experts suggest that families who are helping older adults who have Alzheimer's and feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities may want to enlist home care assistance or consider moving a patient to a nursing home.