Tens of thousands of people took part in a march through Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, calling for action to tackle the challenges of climate change.
At the International Alzheimer’s Congress (AAIC) in Amsterdam, new diagnostic standards for Alzheimer’s disease were unveiled by medical professionals and academics from around the globe.
In accordance with these criteria, the condition is identified in the clinic using blood biomarkers, much like it is done for the diagnosis of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. According to recent research, a blood test has been created for this purpose in recent years that produces very good findings. The new rules were written by Charlotte Teunissen, a professor of neurochemistry at Amsterdam UMC.
“A new generation of biomarkers is now available to detect Alzheimer’s disease more and more effectively. We have already gained a lot of experience with this in our Alzheimer’s centre, but in the long term the test can also be successfully implemented after a GP’s referral,” said Teunissen.
Desire for Diagnosis: New research by Amsterdam UMC with Alzheimer’s Nederland shows that many people with cognitive symptoms want to know whether they are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
A diagnosis enables patients to take more control over the next phase of their lives. The desire to know whether or not you have Alzheimer’s disease makes the use of blood biomarkers so relevant, it is also the gateway to treatment.
A blood test is also a relatively inexpensive method and can be used in many places. Previously, only specialised clinics could do a proper analysis, and thus offer a diagnosis, via a blood test.
Swedish research, presented at the ADPD conference in March, has shown that biomarkers can be more reliable than the analysis of a primary care physician. In addition, the blood test is much less stressful for the patient than the current method.
Currently, Alzheimer’s is diagnosed through the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid, acquired through an invasive lumbar puncture, or via an expensive PET scan. It is believed that both of these methods will soon also be less necessary in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
The new guidelines were developed by an international committee of practitioners and researchers on behalf of the International Alzheimer’s Association and the American National Institute on Aging.
Previously, Alzheimer’s was defined by identifying brain pathology and cognitive decline with which the disease manifested itself. In the new guideline, the disease is diagnosed using biomarkers. More biomarkers with excellent diagnostic performance have been developed and clinically validated in recent years. And more are coming.
The new approach to Alzheimer’s is also relevant and gaining momentum because some targeted therapies, such as lecanemab, against Alzheimer’s have already been approved in the US. Currently, these drugs are subject to the EMA review in the EU.