Saliva can predict Alzheimer's in people who aren't even showing signs of it, according to new studies presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) this week.
According to an AAIC press release, two studies found that an excess of certain proteins in cerebrospinal fluid are strong predictors of Alzheimer's, especially when examined in conjunction with memory tests or brain scans. However, another study found that it's possible to also detect dementia-like changes in saliva, which is much easier to obtain, safer and more affordable.
"There is now consensus that Alzheimer’s disease begins with changes in the brain that are happening while people are still cognitively normal, decades before memory and thinking problems begin, which then accelerate as the disease progresses," Maria Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer, said in the release. "Still, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s usually happens fairly late in the progression of the disease, typically not until symptoms are severe enough to prompt a visit to the doctor."