January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, as designated by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The society’s objective is to prompt individuals and organisations to educate themselves on dementia, including its risk factors, prevention and treatment. Although dementia serves as a broad term encompassing a range of symptoms, Alzheimer’s disease stands out as the predominant contributor, representing 60% to 80% of all diagnosed cases.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are approximately 6,500,000 patients ages 65 years and older currently living with Alzheimer’s disease in the US. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, there are approximately 57,400,000 cases of dementia globally.

Alzheimer’s market to be worth $15.9bn by 2030

Research shows that one of the most important factors to think about when it comes to dementia is diagnosis. While there is currently no cure, the sooner a patient is aware of their diagnosis, the sooner they can begin treatments to slow the progression of the disease. Diagnosis rates for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are currently quite low, so frequent testing and improved diagnostic methods are needed to treat the disease quickly. According to GlobalData, the Alzheimer’s disease market is forecast to be worth $15.9 billion globally in 2030.

Current diagnostic methods for Alzheimer’s disease include blood-based biomarker tests, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tests and clinical assessments. Blood biomarker tests identify distinct biomarkers related to the condition. They offer non-invasive, easily accessible means for early detection and tracking the progression of the disease, and employ antibodies to gauge the blood concentrations of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s. PET scans involve injecting a radioactive tracer into the bloodstream to visualise amyloid plaques in the brain, and CSF tests analyse cerebrospinal fluid for biomarkers associated with the disease.

Brainsee predicts progress to dementia in next five years

Clinical assessments such as cognitive tests and evaluations of symptoms are also used to screen patients for cognitive impairment. US-based medical device company Darmiyan has developed a clinical brain test, BrainSee, and has recently secured FDA approval. BrainSee is a platform designed to help physicians determine the prognosis of patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). BrainSee uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to analyse a patient’s magnetic resonance imaging scan results and generates a score to predict the likelihood of a patient progressing from aMCI to Alzheimer’s disease within five years. Platforms such as BrainSee will help physicians diagnose Alzheimer’s disease more frequently and faster, which will result in the best prognosis for patients.

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By GlobalData