Early-stage dementia: The treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has been “turned up to 11,” thanks to a new spinal tap test that can detect early signs of dementia and offer rapid drug therapy.
The National Health Service (NHS) may soon implement a test that uses a spinal tap to diagnose early-stage dementia . This will allow for the timely implementation of an innovative new treatment.
Nearly one million people in the United Kingdom are living with dementia, the most common form of which is Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a brain disease that causes memory loss, confusion, and changes in behavior.
It has been demonstrated that a spinal tap, which is currently participating in a pilot study, utilizes a long needle to remove fluid from the spinal cord. This procedure has been shown to correctly identify ninety percent of dementia cases, and specialists believe that it is more expedient than the traditional screening tools utilized by the NHS, which include memory tests and brain scans.
The procedure, which is also known as a lumbar puncture, has the potential to be painful; however, experts believe that the results could be worth it because it will enable physicians to offer anti-dementia drugs to patients at the earliest stages of the disease (Early-stage dementia), which is when the drugs are most effective.
It has been demonstrated that a spinal tap, which is currently participating in a pilot study, uses a long needle to remove fluid from the spinal cord. This procedure has been shown to correctly identify ninety percent of dementia cases, and specialists believe that it is more expedient than the traditional screening tools used by the NHS, which include memory tests and brain scans.
A groundbreaking new drug called lecanemab, which has been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by almost a third and may be available on the National Health Service (NHS) next year, requires an early diagnosis of the disease in order to be effective.
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The accumulation of amyloid, a potentially harmful protein found in the brain, is thought to be the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease. It has been demonstrated that lecanemab, which is given as an injection once every two weeks, can bind to and destroy amyloid, thereby slowing the progression of the disease. However, as of right now, only one in twenty patients who have Alzheimer’s disease are said to be able to benefit from the drug. This is due to the fact that many patients are diagnosed far too late for the drug to be effective.
Memory tests are the most common way Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed in the United Kingdom; however, the spinal tap is already a standard diagnostic procedure in many other countries. This test examines the spinal fluid for accumulations of amyloid as well as another protein called tau, which has been hypothesized to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. However, many patients are reluctant to go through with the test due to the potential for unpleasant side effects, such as headaches, swelling, and persistent back pain.
According to Professor Dag Aarsland, who is the head of old age psychiatry at King’s College London, “This test is cheap, effective, and used around the world; therefore, it is peculiar that it is not used on the NHS.”  ‘Diagnosing a disease in its early stages is always important, but doing so with this new medication will be especially important.
If Alzheimer’s disease is detected at an earlier stage (Early-stage dementia), more of the patient’s brain may be preserved.
Researchers at King’s College London are currently conducting a pilot study that will investigate whether or not it would be possible for the National Health Service (NHS) to implement the lumbar puncture test that was developed by the pharmaceutical company Roche.
Prof. Aarsland says, “We want to realize if patients are happy to go through it and if doctors are happy to use it.” If lecanemab is found to be safe and effective, then the National Health Service (NHS) will almost certainly start using it more frequently.
Video on Early-stage Dementia Click Here
What are the signs of Early-stage Dementia ?
● Disadvantages in recalling recent experiences, in particular.
● rising perplexity.
● weaker focus.
● transitions in character or conduct.
● lack of interest, disinterest, or melancholy.
● loss of competence in doing routine activities