More Dead End Tests For Alzheimer’s Disease

August 11, 2010

There have been a number of recent studies that report on markers to predict whether or not you'll develop Alzheimer's in the future. All these tests, whether blood tests or cerebral spinal fluid samples, measure various levels of beta-amyloid, which is the protein that makes up the plaques that are typically found in diseased brains. 

One study showed that measuring three different markers had almost a 90% rate of accuracy in predicting Alzheimer's disease. Another showed that measuring beta-amyloid in spinal fluid was found to be useful.

If you've been following my posts about Alzheimer's disease, you know how I feel about beta-amyloid plaques. I believe amyloid plaques are the end result of damage that's done to the brain from other reasons, and not the cause of Alzheimer's itself. I've also alluded to numerous studies showing that chronic hypoxia can lead to amyloid buildup in the brain, along with lowered volume and density of brain cells in critical areas of the brain (including memory, motor movements, executive function, breathing and autonomic control) and numerous small strokes (lacunar infarcts) in people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea. I believe that a significant number of people with the most common type of Alzheimer's (idiopathic, not genetic) have an untreated sleep-breathing problem that over time, can lead to various degrees of brain damage. Preventing amyloid plaques won't treat what's actually causing the problem, just like when we treat high cholesterol or high blood pressure with medications.

I'm reminded of a very funny and poignant video by Dr. Mercola, called The Town of Allopath. Its' message is very relevant when it comes to Alzheimer's disease.

What do you think about these new tests for Alzheimer's?

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