New research looking to identify Alzheimer’s disease through blood test

Blood test could detect disease years before it starts

HOUSTON – New research indicates a blood test can be used to identify people with brain amyloid, which is a protein that’s a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s.

On Thursday, Dr. Reisa Sperling, director at the Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at Brigham Women’s Hospital said the test is “very accurate.”

Houston native, Megan Larson, knows firsthand how difficult an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be on a family member. She lost both of her grandmothers to the illness.

“The more recent one passed a few years ago and I was very intimately involved with her care and monitoring the facility she was at and helping select them, and just being very, very involved with her day-to-day care and management,” Larson explained.

Since she has the disease on both sides of her family, she’s concerned it could one day impact her too.

That’s why Sperling’s trial is aiming to get answers for people like Larson.

“We’re on the right track,” Sperling said, “One day, hopefully, we’re going to hit a home run.”

Sperling said intervening in the disease before symptoms start would be a game-changer.

“Before people have symptoms, they already have amyloid in their brains and don’t have symptoms. This is the way we win,” Sperling said.

For Larson, who spends time fundraising to end Alzheimer’s, this could be more than eliminating the disease. It might give families something previous generations had stolen.

“Our kids have that time with us and so our kids can share memories up until the day of death with that family member,” she said.

If you’re interested in participating in the trial looking for a blood test to detect Alzheimer’s, they are currently enrolling patients through the website For now, they’re only taking patients 55 and older.