Researchers at Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute in Rockville have claimed that the discovery of enzymes, which react abnormally in the skin of patients with Alzheimer's disease, could be developed as a quick, and painless test for the disease.
The researchers explained that not only would be quick and easy, but it would be the first accurate test for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease, which as of now could only be diagnosed by careful psychiatric assessments and by examining the brain after death. Researchers Tapan Khan and Daniel Alkon have said that their test could also distinguished Alzheimer's from other brain-damaging diseases such as Parkinson's and others.
The researchers while writing the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, had said that it might even be used to find very early on the cause of Alzheimer's, which is most common cause of dementia, at which stage drugs could act to the best of capabilities. Alkon also explained that the condition is usually very difficult to distinguish from other dementias or mild cognitive impairment.
He said, "Potential treatments of Alzheimer's, however, are likely to have their greatest efficacy before the devastating and widespread impairment of brain function that inevitably develops after four or more years."
It has been explained that Alzheimer's disease is usually marked by inflammation that is caused by a variety of compounds in the body. More than 4.5 million people have Alzheimer's disease in the United States alone and 12 million worldwide and that there is no known cure. Alkon and Khan also found that the condition particularly stimulates a change in an enzyme called MAP Kinase Erik 1/2.
Testing this on various tissue samples taken from people who had died of known causes, including Alzheimer's, they found that when they tested the skin cells with bradykinin, which is a common inflammatory signal, the Erk 1/2 response obtained from patients with Alzheimer's was different from those seen in tissues from other people, including patients with dementia caused by Parkinson's disease, multiple infarct dementia and Huntington's chorea.