Richard G. Petty, MD

A Possible Test for Alzheimer's Disease

I was very pleased for some of my former colleagues from the Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudsely in London.

Years of work by the researchers and unstinting support from pateints and their families seems to be bearing fruit.

Professor Simon Lovestone and his team have published an important paper in this month’s edition of the journal Brain, which is commemorating the centenary of the first description of Alzheimer’s disease. It is very hard to get a paper in to the journal, and the fact that the researchers did, speaks volumes about the quality and importance of their work. The entire article is available online. That was made possible by the Alzheimer’s Research Trust who also funded this work: kudos to them for backing this work and for publicizing the results.

What they have done is to develop a blood test that may be able to pick up signs of Alzheimer’s disease before people start to show symptoms. They used a process called proteomics – the study of proteins – and found levels of two types of protein in the blood that were only present if people had the condition. We do not yet know exactly what the proteins are.

The researchers are quite rightly being cautious at this point. Nobody wants yet again to raise false hopes. There is also the knotty ethical problem of being able to test for people with the earliest stages of the illness. There is the theoretical risk that medical insurers may deny coverage if someone’s test is positive.

But if confirmed, this is of enormous importance: we already know that the earlier that treatment is started the better. And by treatment I certainly do not simply mean medications: controlling blood pressure, glucose and lipids; maintaining optimal nutrition; and taking physical and mental exercise may all slow progression of the illness.

It’s wonderful to have some good news about this often devastating illness.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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