Validity of a "Home Alzheimer's Test"

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

One type of Alzheimer's news stories that I see on a recurring basis is that a test of some sort has been developed to diagnose the disease easily and accurately. Usually these stories take one of two forms.

The first form of these stories are those about "basic science" which means pure, theoretical science that has not yet embarked (and may never embark) on the long and arduous path to commercialization. Often times however, the stories are written in a manner that suggests the scientific endeavor has been successfully concluded and that doctors are now ready to improve care using a new advance in medical knowledge. Sadly, that is almost never the case. The chasm between a scientific discovery and an applicable clinical product is both wide and difficult to cross but stories in the popular press usually convey the opposite.

The other form of these stories is to take an existing technology and tout it with claims that are misleading or unrealistic. An example of this was recently noted in an article on Live Science where several "questionable screening tests" were discussed. One example is the Alzheimer's Smell test that has been marketed for some time as a do-it-yourself approach to identifying the disease. While the test is not regarded as valid in the scientific community, consumer marketing messages imply otherwise.

It is difficult to to understand the evolving landscape of technologies for identifying and treating Alzheimer's disease without access to the scientists performing the research and without a solid understanding of how these technologies might pass through a regulatory process on the way to becoming part of a clinical solution. The purpose of this blog is to help readers gain a more accurate perspective on the daily news and what it means in terms of real progress in this area.

No comments :

Post a Comment