Spinal tap key to detecting Alzheimer's disease?

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August 11, 2010, 8:00 am

(NECN) - Alzheimer's is an awful disease that affects nearly 5.3 million people nationwide -- including over 270,000 in New England.

It is the seventh leading cause of death, and costs up to $172 billion each year.

And, according to the Alzheimer's Association, there are almost 11 million unpaid caregivers.

One of the many challenges in dealing with Alzheimer's is actually diagnosing the disease. But, there is now promising new research. It shows fluid from a spinal tap can accurately predict whether a patient with memory loss is going to develop Alzheimer's disease.

The fluid reveals the presence of certain protein levels that are evidence in Alzheimer's patients.

Dr. Bradford Dickerson is a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and he joins NECN for a discussion.

Tags: Alzheimer's disease, spinal tap, neuroscience
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