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Since 2006 our senior care in Virginia Beach has helped many families with elderly loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Williamsburg.

Care Connect Note: Following is an excellent senior care article. While this is an important first step, please keep in mind the tests’ limitations.

 

If you live in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, or Hampton Roads and have any questions about senior care for a loved one with Alzheimer's, please contact me at (757) 271-4270 or click here.




1st blood test to help ID Alzheimer's goes on sale

By The Associated Press – 12/1/2020

The bills just keep coming.

A company has started selling the first blood test to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, a leap for the field that could make it much easier for people to learn whether they have dementia. It also raises concern about the accuracy and impact of such life-altering news.

Independent experts are leery because key test results have not been published and the test has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — it's being sold under more general rules for commercial labs.

But they agree that a simple test that can be done in a doctor’s office has long been needed. More than 5 million people in the United States and millions more around the world have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. To be diagnosed with it, people must have symptoms such as memory loss plus evidence of a buildup of a protein called beta-amyloid in the brain.

The best way now to measure the protein is a costly PET brain scan that usually is not covered by insurance.

The blood test from C2N Diagnostics of St. Louis aims to fill that gap. The company's founders include Drs. David Holtzman and Randall Bateman of Washington University School of Medicine, who headed research that led to the test and are included on a patent that the St. Louis university licensed to C2N.

The test is not intended for general screening or for people without symptoms — it’s aimed at people 60 and older who are having thinking problems and are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s. It’s not covered by insurance or Medicare; the company charges $1,250 and offers discounts based on income. Only doctors can order the test and results come within 10 days. It's sold in all but a few states in the U.S. and just was cleared for sale in Europe.

It measures two types of amyloid particles plus various forms of a protein that reveal whether someone has a gene that raises risk for the disease. These factors are combined in a formula that includes age, and patients are given a score suggesting low, medium or high likelihood of having amyloid buildup in the brain.

The company has not published any data on the test’s accuracy, although the doctors have published on the amyloid research leading to the test. Company promotional materials cite results comparing the test to PET brain scans — the current gold standard — in 686 people, ages 60-91, with cognitive impairment or dementia.

If a PET scan showed amyloid buildup, the blood test also gave a high probability of that in 92 percent of cases and missed 8 percent of them, said the company’s chief executive, Dr. Joel Braunstein.

If the PET scan was negative, the blood test ruled out amyloid buildup 77 percent of the time. The other 23 percent got a positive result, but that doesn't necessarily mean the blood test was incorrect, Braunstein said. The published research suggests it may detect amyloid buildup before it's evident on scans.

Braunstein said the company will seek FDA.

“Should we be holding that technology back when it could have a big impact on patient care?" he asked.

Dr. Eliezer Masliah, neuroscience chief at the U.S. National Institute on Aging, said the government funded some of the work leading to the test as well as other kinds of blood tests.

“I would be cautious about interpreting any of these things,” he said of the company’s claims. “We’re encouraged, we’re interested, we’re funding this work but we want to see results.”

Heather Snyder of the Alzheimer’s Association said it won't endorse a test without FDA approval. The test also needs to be studied in larger and diverse populations.

“It’s not quite clear how accurate or generalizable the results are,” she said.

If you have any questions about senior care for an elderly loved one suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia, please call me at (757) 271-4270. Since 2006 our senior care in Virginia Beach has helped thousands of families in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, and Hampton Roads.

For a confidential consultation, please contact us at (757) 271-4270 or cdboyd@careconnecthr.com.



About Care Connect of Hampton Roads
Christina Drumm-Boyd is a VA Accredited claims agent. She and the staff at Care Connect of Hampton Roads are experts at providing care for seniors, care for elderly, nursing home care, long term care, home care, senior care, eldercare, care for mom, care for dad, assisted living, alzheimers, dementia, adult day care, help with senior care, nursing care, elderly care, elder care planning, geriatric care manager, geriatric case manager, caregiver, in home care, long term care, and caregiver support for the elderly in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, Hampton Roads, North Carolina, Currituck, and the Outer banks. Christina Drumm-Boyd is a certified senior advisor who can help with medicaid rules, VA benefits, VA pension, medicaid, medicare, veterans benefits, aid and attendance pension, veterans aid and assistance, veterans aid and attendance, power of attorney, guardianship, advanced medical directive, will, conservatorship, paying for nursing home care, paying for long term care, legal advice for seniors, elder law, asset protection, estate planning, long term care insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and annuities.

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