Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and incurable neurodegenerative disease, and is the most widespread form of dementia. More than 5.3 million Americans, and more than 100 million people worldwide, have Alzheimer’s disease. This number is expected to quadruple by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is fatal, and today is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. While the disease is a major cause of dementia in the elderly, it is not the sole cause.
There is therefore a strong need for a fast and effective way to differentiate Alzheimer’s disease from other types of dementia. Currently, clinical detection of Alzheimer’s disease is complicated and requires a combination of several time-consuming and expensive techniques, such as strict behavioral assessments, imaging examination, genetic tests, or protein tests. Moreover, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease becomes even more complicated due to overlapping symptoms with other types of dementia as well as Parkinson’s disease. Recent studies from the University at Albany and Albany Medical Center, however, have demonstrated that spectroscopy of blood allows for differentiating Alzheimer’s disease patients and healthy donors.
In this project, the researchers seek to validate their spectroscopy technique which has the power to detect small changes in the overall biochemical composition of a sample, including complex materials such as blood.