New Alzheimer's test is scary tech

Summary:A company called Satoris has announced a blood test that can detect Alzheimer's 2-6 years away from any symptoms. But do you want to know?

Fred and Mamie Blankenhorn in 1980I have a secret for you.

My grandfather (right) died of Alzheimer's Disease. He was 86 when he passed away.

My own dad came through town, after seeing his father for the last time. Looked like he'd seen a ghost. Needed several stiff drinks to get back together. I'm just glad my best friend at the time was trying to clear out his cordials cabinet.

Had I told my dad he would die the same way, I'm sure he would have eaten a gun, right there. Alzheimer's is a terrible way to go, for everyone involved. It's like you just, disappear, before your own eyes, and then your eyes have to stare out at the world for months or years before your body gets the message.

My dad finally did pass away, in 1999, of heart disease, and the point of this tale is that a company called Satoris has announced a blood test that can detect Alzheimer's 2-6 years away from any symptoms.

Tony Wyss-Coray says the test works by screening for 18 specific proteins commonly found in the blood of Alzheimer's patients. Early tests show it's 90% accurate. Wyss-Coray's paper will be in Nature Medicine.

"I'm personally a proponent of knowing what is ahead" Dr. Leonard Mucke, who runs the San Francisco lab where Wyss-Coray trained, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The point of that personal story at the top is not everyone agrees. Even if they say, at first, they want to know, some really don't. Given that Alzheimer's is still incurable, I'm pretty certain I don't want to know. Not before I see symptoms.

If we do find a cure, especially if it works best in the earliest stages, then by all means. But to know I'm about to die a truly horrible death? No thanks.

Agree or disagree?[poll id=7]

Topics: Enterprise Software


Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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