EXCLUSIVE: This Simple Test Can Help You Find Out Whether Your Loved Ones Will Have Alzheimer's
Repeatedly asking questions, failing to recall recent events, forgetting passwords, misplacing eyeglasses, missing appointments, and constantly losing their train of thought. Short term memory loss is common among the elderly, but what families really want to know is if it is Alzheimer’s Disease.
Well, thanks to groundbreaking medical research, doctors can now diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease early—all it takes is an ordinary blood test. First, the lab determines how much oligomerized beta-amyloid (a biomarker correlated with long-term cognitive decline and a decrease in quality of life) is in the blood. The result is then compared to predetermined cutoff levels based on Philippine data. Within a month, doctors can already say whether a client is at risk for Alzheimer’s or not.
Watch this exclusive video to learn more about the modern diagnostic test. It can be a big help to you and your family!
The MDS-AD test is available in all Hi-Precision branches nationwide; it needs no fasting or special instructions. Interested in learning more about the test, Alzheimer’s Disease, and dementia? Keep reading for our exclusive interview with Dr. Jacqueline Dominguez, a prominent neurologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center who specializes in ageing and cognitive impairment.
Neurologist Dr. Jacqueline Dominguez in an exclusive interview with Metro.Style
Metro.Style: How does the MDS-AD blood test work, and who is it for?
Dr. Dominguez: The MDS-AD test is very accessible to patients because it’s just a simple blood test. With it, we can tell if oligomers, small proteins that are precursors of bad amyloid, are in the blood. It is very helpful and valuable for people who have experienced mild forgetfulness recently, people who might be in the early stages of dementia. With it, we can address their main concern—are they experiencing the beginning of Alzheimer’s Disease or not? After all, forgetfulness is a normal part of aging.
Metro.Style: What are the advantages of the MDS-AD test over other tests?
Dr. Dominguez: Compared to other methods, it is very simple. One way was to test the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for amyloid biomarkers. But this was complicated, because a lumbar puncture was needed to get CSF. It’s invasive, and seniors don’t like it. Another way is to do a PET scan, where images of the brain are reviewed for amyloid. But PET scans are very costly and only available in research hospitals abroad.
So when this blood test was developed and became commercially available, we were very excited. Research showed that MDS-AD results are comparable to findings from the CSF biomarker test and amyloid PET scan, correctly identifying the persons with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Metro.Style: What is the difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia?
Dr. Dominguez: Dementia is the all-encompassing term for conditions that reduce someone’s capacity to live independently, or to carry out regular, daily activities. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, and the most studied.
Photo: Matthew Bennett
Metro.Style: What puts people at risk for dementia?
Dr. Dominguez: Age is the single most significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease. In general, people with Alzheimer’s Disease usually are in their 60s. However, it can happen earlier, as early as the 40s. This is early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, which is usually inherited. Aside from age, other risk factors are low education, family history, and risk genes.
Different dementias also have different causes. Stroke causes vascular dementia. People with Parkinson’s Disease are also at risk for developing PD dementia. Dementia can also be caused by repeated traumatic brain injuries, such as among football players and boxers. There’s also an early onset dementia called frontotemporal dementia, which shares some symptoms with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Metro.Style: What can people do to prevent early onset Alzheimer’s and dementia?
Dr. Dominguez: Our brain health in late life is dependent on mid-life brain health. To keep their brains healthy throughout life, people should avoid strokes by controlling their blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Exercise is very helpful—spread the prescribed amount of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise over the week. Dance is a multi-component intervention; it contributes not just to physical and cardiovascular fitness, but also to social integration and cognitive recognition.
Diet is also important, whether low carb or Mediterranean. Optimal and adequate sleep (about 7 hours) helps too. Finally, try to avoid depression, because it can contribute to or even cause dementia. Basically, what you do for general health, you also do for brain health.
Metro.Style: What message do you have for our readers?
Dr. Dominguez: If you have concerns about memory loss or are concerned about your family member, you can consult your physician and avail of the test. The current approach to neurodegenerative diseases is to diagnose conditions as early as possible, when there is still a lot of cognitive function. At this point, there are a lot of interventions we can do to ensure a good quality of life, even with dementia.
For more information, visit the Mds-Ad Test for Amyloid page on Facebook.
Produced by Hershey Neri
Video by Pat Buenaobra
Special thanks to PeopleBio and Alfamed Care