New Early Detection Test for Alzheimer’s Disease Based on UBC Research Launches in Canada | The Canadian News

Canadians across the country now have access to a new test for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, drawn from the work of researchers at UBC’s school of medicine.

The test detects proteins known as biomarkers and can help clinicians diagnose neurodegenerative disease years earlier than they might in the past, according to lead researcher Dr. Mari DeMarco, associate clinical professor in the department of pathology and UBC Laboratory Medicine.

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“We can take just a drop of the fluid that surrounds the brain, the cerebrospinal fluid, and in that drop of fluid we can look at those same biomarkers, and they leave a mark on the cerebrospinal fluid when there are changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.” he explained.

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The test is the result of work that began almost three years ago as part of the IMPACT-AD study, which is investigating how offering biomarker testing in routine care could help improve medical care and help patients and their families cope with dementia.

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“We’re learning from the people who were screened that this is really helpful for them to plan … reduce some of the anxiety around the diagnosis and be able to better communicate with friends and family,” DeMarco said.

That was the case for Anne Bill, 69, and her two daughters.

Bill began to show the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, mainly around short-term memory loss several years ago, but he remains clear-headed and high-functioning.

When her husband passed away from a heart attack, her daughters contacted the UBC Alzheimer’s Clinic for more information and were offered the opportunity to participate in the study.

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Sure enough, when she was tested for biomarkers, the result came back positive, something her daughters said actually helped reduce their anxiety.

“I think we finally knew that she had it, but now that we knew, we knew it was a sense of peace and that we could go ahead and do what we had to do to support Mom,” Jordana Dehann told Global News.

“It was like, okay, this is what it is,” added Kristi Wijnsma.

“It is a terrible disease. We know that it is a degenerative disease; we know our mom will slowly slip away. But we can make good use of the time we have with her and just create memories and be together as a family. “

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While the study is still ongoing, DeMarco said the test itself is now available to eligible people across Canada.

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Prospective patients can talk to their doctor about it and have a dementia care specialist order the test.

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“Some of us were told they were concerned that they didn’t know what was going on with their brain health, and this test helped alleviate that concern a bit,” DeMarco said.

“For others, it was really pivotal in helping plan for the future, including health care, long-term financial planning, and even social family (planning), for example, taking that trip with distant friends and family that you’ve put Out for. a time.”

For Bill, who has moved into an assisted living situation closer to his daughters, the knowledge has helped her focus on making the most of her time with them.

“I just want to keep going and the grandsons and daughters keep me going and it’s a blessing to have them around,” she said.

“Take one day at a time, thank the Lord for every morning that you wake up breathing, spend quality time with your children and grandchildren.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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