Studies show that simple blood test could reveal the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s up to 20 years before any symptoms.
Scientists have used nanotechnology combined with artificial intelligence in the low-cost test.
Physicists from The Australian National University (ANU) have come up with a system that analyses proteins in our blood and searches for signs of early neurodegeneration, or ‘biomarkers’ that point to the onset of Alzheimer’s.
An ultra-thin silicon chip containing ‘nanopores’ tiny, nanometre-sized holes that analyze the proteins one at a time with help from an advanced AI algorithm, was developed by the team.
“If that person can find out their risk level that far in advance, then it gives them plenty of time to start making positive lifestyle changes and adopt medication strategies that may help slow down the progression of the disease,” said Shankar Dutt, doctoral student.
Blood is a complex fluid that contains more than 10,000 different biomolecules. By employing advanced filtration techniques and harnessing our nanopore platform, combined with our intelligent machine learning algorithms, we may be able to identify even the most elusive proteins.
“Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and currently there is no cure,” said Professor Patrick Kluth, from the ANU Research School of Physics.
Currently, Alzheimer’s is mostly diagnosed based on evidence of mental deterioration, by which stage the disease has already seriously damaged the brain.
Early detection, which is vital for effective treatment, normally involves invasive and expensive hospital procedures such as a lumbar puncture, which can be physically and mentally taxing for patients.
Our technique, on the other hand, requires only a small blood sample and patients could receive their results in near real-time.
The quick and simple test could be done by GPs and other clinicians, which would eliminate the need for a hospital visit and prove especially convenient for people living in regional and remote areas.”
It’s hoped the ANU screening technique could be made available within the next five years.
The study is published in the journal Small Methods.
Originally published on talker.news
Edited by Othieno B and Newsdesk Manager