Blood Test May Predict Dementia 6 Years Early

Some worry over boost in insurance costs; others want wider study
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 7, 2008 1:42 PM CDT
Jackie Lustig, 52, guides her mother Jeannette Zeltzer, 81, who suffers from Alzheimer's, down the hall at the assisted living facility where Zeltzer lives, March 8, 2008 in Newton, Mass.    (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
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(Newser) – A new blood test can warn of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases six years before symptoms appear, its makers say. The assessment, set to launch this summer, could allow patients to begin fighting the ailments early with through dietary changes, exercise and drugs, the Daily Mail reports. But some worry advance knowledge of the illnesses could cause inflated insurance premiums.

“There is currently no diagnostic test for any neurodegenerative disease on the market,” says a rep for Power3, the US-based test maker. The test measures 59 protein “biomarkers” in blood serum and gives patients a “probability score." Though Power3 calls the method 90% accurate, “larger studies need to be conducted before it can be confirmed as being helpful,” says an expert.