This past week, researchers revealed they had developed a blood test that can accurately predict whether a senior will develop dementia in the next few years. The test has been performed on a small pool of subjects, with promising results. The test focuses on a particular set of lipids that are present in those who end up developing Alzheimer’s disease and other variations of cognitive decline. In the studies conducted so far, the blood test has had an impressive 90 percent accuracy rate.
The blood test is still years from being made available to the public as a diagnostic tool for dementia. Still, the fact that a simple blood test now exists raises the question: would you take the test?
I definitely would want to know, so I would take the test. Something to keep in mind with this particular blood test is that it only can predict the development of cognitive decline two or three years prior to onset. When it comes to genetic testing, some people fear of living with the knowledge of increased disease risk for decades, like a black cloud over their lives. I can understand that, though I have undergone commercial genetic testing that indicates I have the ApoE4 gene variant that increases my risk for Alzheimer’s. But with this new blood test, that window of time is a more reasonable one, allowing you enough time to get your affairs in order and spend quality time with your family. Not everyone would accept this information in a positive manner and it could trigger depression or destructive behavior; obviously the test should never be forced upon a patient.
That being said, I’m not saying that getting those test results indicating you have a 90 percent chance of developing dementia in a few years would be easy to digest. You might well react differently than you think you would.
Would you take a blood test that could accurately predict the onset of dementia?