A new test may be able to turn “senior moments” into moments of Alzheimer’s predictions.
Italian scientists developed a simple blood test to measure the amount of copper circulating in our blood. High levels of free copper have been linked to cell damage in previous research.
The new study, published in the Annals of Neurology found that people who had high levels of free copper had a 50 percent chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease within four years. Those with low levels has less than a 20 percent chance of getting the disease. Researchers analyzed the blood of 141 seniors with mild cognitive impairment for the study.
“This simple test offers the potential to identify people at risk for progressive cognitive decline and they may be able to do something about it,” researcher Rosanna Squitti, of the Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Rome, told the Dailymail.co.uk.
What can they do? Cut back on copper found in certain foods and drinking water piped in copper – and take zinc supps, which help reduce copper levels.
Squitti is bringing together 17 leading European experts in Alzheimer’s disease and copper to work on a study to test whether giving zinc supplements to people experiencing “senior moments” affects the number who develop Alzheimer’s.
Neal Barnard, associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University and president of the U.S. Physicians Committee, told the DailyMail: “This is an important advance for attacking the Alzheimer’s epidemic. It gives people at risk – and their doctors – a way to spot the risk and change it.”