AgingDrugs & MedicationsEnd of life IssuesHuman InterestNeurologyPreventive Medicine


On July 21, 2020 I published a blog about two new tests used to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. With the detection of Tau protein and amyloid protein in the cerebrospinal fluid, doctors are able to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease with 87-92% certainty. These markers, used in conjunction with PET Scan imaging studies (Positron Emission Tomography), make the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s possible before death. Prior to these discoveries, Alzheimer’s could only be diagnosed at autopsy. 

This was an optimistic development, but now comes a blood test with even greater predictability. The test is called AlzoSure Predict, or P53 which can predict the development of Alzheimer’s six years before symptoms appear! Wow! Really? That’s great news. The test actually measures a derivative (or by-product) of P53 called U-p53AZ. This derivative is implicated, or thought to involved, in the development, of Alzheimer’s disease. Serial, or repeated, determinations of levels of P53 in the blood led researchers to identify patients with Alzheimer’s Dementia six (6) years before symptoms develop. Six Years!

P53 is a protein found in the brain and other parts of the body. Researchers measured it at regular intervals in 224 patients over a 10-year period. The results of the blood tests were compared to the patient’s cognitive state, and with 95% certainty, P53 proved accurate in predicting cognitive decline six years before it actually occurred. A second study with twice as many patients had the same results. Additionally, changes in P53 levels were detected long before levels of amyloid and tau protein became detectable. 

Dr. G’s Opinion: This is good news in a way! Good in that it may help to speed up the development of new drugs for dementia, plus it gives patients and their families time to prepare for the life changes they can anticipate coming in the future. But it also tells an individual they have a 95% chance of developing dementia and dying in a care facility. That’s a very discouraging and depressing prediction. At this juncture, also, if a patient suspects he is going to get Alzheimer’s, there isn’t anything he/she can do to prevent it. Nor is there any effective treatment once it appears. So knowing this information could lead to severe depression and even suicide, either self-inflicted or assisted. 

Why would I want to know in advance if I’m getting Alzheimer’s? Only if there were treatment to suppress it would that be advantageous. There isn’t such treatment now, but knowing these tests are good predictors gives us hope for the time when early treatment is available. Right now, though, I would rather not know and continue to live life as normally as possible.

Reference: https://www.mdedge,com/neurology/article/249102/Alzheimer’s-blood-test

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  1. I’m thinking that I would want to know. That way, I can make plans for my future. And I would pick up the pace for my bucket list.

  2. My mother thought that there would be a real surge for medical research after Reagan was diagnosed. It was not in time for my dad.

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