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Oct 19, 2015 12:12 PM EDT

Researchers may soon develop Alzheimer's blood test

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Researchers at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, N.J. may soon develop a blood test for Alzheimer's disease, philly.com reports. 

A blood test for Alzheimer will help doctors to diagnose patients at the earliest stage. This will enable patients to make lifestyle changes that may slow progression of the brain disease.

"There are significant benefits to early disease detection because we now know that many of the same conditions that lead to vascular disease are also significant risk factors for Alzheimer's," lead researcher Robert Nagele said in an association news release.

The findings were presented Sunday at an American Osteopathic Association meeting in Orlando, Fla. The data and conclusions are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

"People found to have preclinical disease can take steps to improve their vascular health, including watching their diet, exercising and managing any weight and blood pressure issues to help stave off or slow disease progression," Nagele said.

Currently, there is no approved blood test for Alzheimer's.

"As osteopathic physicians, we constantly tell patients that a healthy lifestyle is the best medicine for preventing disease. We also know that many people tune out messages about nutrition and exercise until a health crisis gets their attention," said Jennifer Caudle, DO, assistant professor of family medicine at Rowan University, as reported by Science daily.

"I can't think of a single patient who wouldn't take steps to prevent the progression of Alzheimer's if they could directly affect their prognosis."

For the development of the test, the researchers focused on the use of autoantibodies in the blood as biomarkers for the presence and stage of Alzheimer's disease.

The blood test may also help in detecting other diseases, including Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and breast cancer.

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