A team of scientists has conducted a new study in which they tested a new method of detecting Alzheimer’s. According to the researchers, a simple saliva test may help doctors in the future to detect early signs of the dangerous neurodegenerative disease. The study was presented at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
The scientists who conducted the study said they are in the first stages of testing, but so far the results are promising. They believe Alzheimer’s could be diagnosed by taking saliva samples from the patient’s mouth and analyze its composition.
For their study, the scientists from the University Of Alberta, Canada examined samples of saliva taken from more than 100 patients. They divided the people into three groups: one group consisted of 35 people who did not show any signs of neurodegenerative illnesses; the second group consisted of 25 people who exhibited mild signs of cognitive impairment, while the third group was made of 22 patients who had Alzheimer’s.
The researchers analyzed the patients’ saliva using protein analysis technology. This means that they analyzed more than 6,000 metabolites, which are tiny molecules that are the byproducts of the brain’s chemical reactions. Using this technology, the scientists discovered specific patterns of metabolites in both the group that suffered from Alzheimer’s and the group that exhibited signs of cognitive impairment. The results were compared to the ones that were in the healthy people group. The researchers then tested the metabolites’ patterns as predicting signs of cognitive performance.
Although doctors know the difference between a brain that is affected by Alzheimer’s and a healthy brain, the new study wanted to state how important it is to detect the disease from an early stage.
The researchers presented the saliva test during the conference but it hasn’t been published or reviewed by other specialists. Because of this, other scientists said further research is needed in order to determine whether the saliva test can be used as an efficient tool for detecting Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Allison Reiss, researcher at the Inflammation Section at Winthrop-University Hospital, said the study needs more research as it was conducted on a small number of participants. Dr. Reiss said the results of the study are not conclusive enough and the saliva test needs to be conducted on a larger number of subjects in order to prove its efficiency in detecting early signs of Alzheimer’s.
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