Alzheimer's test promising

Oct. 6, 2011 at 9:13 PM

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- A test for Alzheimer's scores nearly 90 percent for sensitivity and specificity, minimizing false positive and negative results, researchers in Canada say.

Dr. Robert Gundel, president and chief executive officer of Amorfix, said the only definitive diagnosis for Alzheimer's disease is a post-mortem examination of brain tissue to identify the presence of the aggregated beta amyloid protein in the form of plaques in the brain.

The Amorfix test is conducted on cerebrospinal fluid around and inside the brain and spinal cord obtained from living patients -- representing a significant step forward in early detection and subsequent treatment of the disease.

"Right now, diagnostic accuracy for Alzheimer's disease can be as low as 70 percent, meaning three out of 10 people who are diagnosed with this disease might not actually have Alzheimer's disease, but rather some other kind of dementia," Gundel said in a statement. "With our test, we've potentially reduced this percentage down to one out of 10 people."

The first application for the diagnostic test will be to screen patients more precisely for participation in clinical trials, which is expected to lead to improved results and reduce the time and cost associated with ongoing study of the disease, Gundel said.

"What this means is that we've moved one step closer toward commercialization of a highly accurate diagnostic test for Alzheimer's disease," he said.

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