Alzheimers: would you really want to know?

First proven diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s | COSMOS magazine

The study measured CSF samples from 400 patients with mild cognitive impairment, 200 with early-stage AD, and 200 with normal brain function. The researchers also tested CSF samples taken from 56 patients prior to their death, and on whom autopsies later confirmed the presence of the disease.

The researchers found that patients with mild cognitive impairment or AD had much larger concentrations of tau and decreased concentrations of amyloid beta42, as compared to the healthy patients.

Overall, the test was 87 per cent accurate, and was able to both indicate which patients with mild cognitive impairment would progress to AD, and which patients did not have AD.

Of course, over large numbers of patients that 87% is going to lead to a whole lot of false positives and false negatives. I’m not sure which way I would hope the errors are biased.

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