A new test recently introduced allows doctors to detect Alzheimer’s through the body’s most common body fluid, saliva. Although doctors are able to see the difference between a normal, healthy brain and a brain affected by Alzheimer’s, the test helps in detecting Alzheimer’s in its earlier stages. This marks advancements of diagnostic tools that help detect neurodegenerative disease.
The test works by examining saliva samples to look at changes in the saliva that potentially indicate changes in Alzheimer’s. This is made possible by analyzing proteins found in saliva to examine metabolites, which are by products of chemical reactions in the brain. Biomarkers, or patterns of metabolites, would be found in samples from groups with Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment, in comparison with the natural aging group. The biomarkers would be tested to predict cognitive performance. The study has been validated through samples from 22 participants.
One advantage of the test is how convenient it is. Not only does it help screen for early cases, it is also cost effective and does not require much equipment. Furthermore, saliva is easy to collect and transport, so this should encourage participation in different health centers all over the country.
Despite showing promising results, the new diagnostic tool is still in its earlier stages. It is not peer reviewed or published as of yet, so further testing is needed before it can be used. A clinical trial has not been set, but a larger sample study is on the way.