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Spectroscopy Technology May Detect Early Alzheimer’s

Researchers have shown that the use of near-infrared (NIR) biospectroscopy to detect indicators of changes in oxidative stress levels in blood plasma may be a useful approach to the early identification of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The procedure is minimally invasive, rapid, and relatively inexpensive. There is currently no accepted laboratory test for diagnosing AD. Diagnosis is based solely on a patient's medical history and neurological examination, is labor-intensive and expensive, and is often inconclusive in early stages of the illness. The availability of a biologic marker (in this case, a chemical signature of indicators of oxidative stress levels) that reliably differentiates AD from normal aging and other dementing conditions would represent a major achievement in the management of this common neurodegenerative disorder. In differentiating AD patients from the normal elderly control group, the NIR biospectroscopy approach achieved a sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 77%. "These results demonstrate the potential for NIR biospectroscopy to differentiate mild, and possibly pre-clinical, Alzheimer's disease from normal aging with high accuracy," said Dr. Hyman Schipper, senior author of the study. "We are very encouraged by these data and look forward to testing this potential diagnostic tool in larger-scale studies." This work was published in the June issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. [Press release 1] [Press release 2] [June issue of JAD]