Researchers have developed a blood test that can predict whether a person will develop Alzheimer's disease. This new test, so far, has accurately predicted Alzheimer's up to three years before the onset of symptoms. According to a March 9 report by the BBC, scientists at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. developed the Alzheimer's test.
The ability to predict the onset of Alzheimer's is important. Although there is little that can be done to stop the dementia-causing disease, it can help lower the cost of care. In addition to that, it can help families plan better for the future.
The new Alzheimer's test looks at changes in the fats in the blood. It is unknown what causes those changes. Despite that, those changes are accurately predicting the onset of Alzheimer's.
The ability to predict Alzheimer's is posing an ethical dilemma. Those who have the test done must be given a choice as to whether or not they want to know the results. They must also understand the implications.
At the time of publication, about 44 million people around the world suffer from dementia. It is believed that 135 million people will have dementia in 2050. Despite those numbers, in the United Kingdom, cancer research gets eight times the amount of fund as dementia research.