Alzheimer’s detection could be on horizon

Researchers develop techniques to find brain plaque

U.S. researchers may have found the first reliable way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in patients with memory loss, the New York Times reports. The findings still have to be confirmed and approved by the Food and Drug Administrations, but if they are, doctors might finally have a way to figure out if drugs are slowing, or halting, the disease. Since it was first described in 1906, there’s been only one way to know for sure if a person has it: after death, an examination of the brain reveals tiny black freckles that stick to brain slices, known as plaque. There’s no treatment to slow or stop Alzheimer’s progression, but drug companies are developing them now—although the question is, who should get the drugs? Who’s actually developing it? In fact, 20 per cent of people with dementia who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s don’t actually have it (no plaque is found on their brains when biopsied). Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, whose small start-up company named Avid is behind the new research, has developed a dye that goes into the brain and sticks to plaque.

New York Times