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Top Labs To Run Bi-Annually On Your Patients Who Suffer From Alzheimer's Disease

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Top Labs To Run Bi-Annually On Your Patients Who Suffer From Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease can have tremendous physical, emotional, and financial costs for your patients. Gaining a thorough understanding of the illness is key to part of a long-term strategy to improve outcomes and to ensure there is adequate support for these individuals. An essential part of this long-term strategy is regular testing to help monitor disease progression and the effectiveness of treatment interventions. This approach provides valuable insights to improve the quality of life for those living with dementia and at risk for developing Alzheimer's while also keeping their support system well-informed.


What is Alzheimer's Disease? 

Alzheimer's disease impacts the brain, gradually leading to memory, thinking, and task-related difficulties. It commonly emerges in people around their mid-60s, but a rarer early-onset type affects those as young as their 30s to mid-60s. Alzheimer's is the most prevalent cause of dementia among older adults.

The disease's name comes from Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who, in 1906, noted brain changes in a woman with a unique mental ailment. She faced memory, language, and behavior issues. Alzheimer discovered brain plaques and tangles during his examination, which remain vital to Alzheimer's features. The disease also involves nerve cell disconnections, disrupting communication between brain regions and the body.

Initially, this damage affects memory-related regions like the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. Later, it impacts the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for reasoning, language, and social behavior. Over time, numerous other brain areas suffer damage as well.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

In the early stages of Alzheimer's, memory issues are often the initial sign. However, the early symptoms can differ between individuals. Other thinking abilities might also be impacted, like trouble finding words, vision problems, and impaired reasoning. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) could be an early sign, but not all with MCI will develop Alzheimer's.

As Alzheimer's advances, everyday tasks become tough. Tasks like driving, cooking, and finances become challenging. Repetitive questions, disorientation, unusual item placement, and trouble understanding simple things may occur. As the disease worsens, some may become anxious, angry, or display aggressive behavior.

Possible Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

The precise cause of Alzheimer's isn't fully grasped by scientists yet. It's thought to result from a combination of factors rather than a single cause, affecting each person differently.

Age is a recognized risk factor for Alzheimer's, with the chances increasing as a person gets older. Family history is also considered influential due to genetic connections, though having a family history doesn't guarantee getting the disease. Living healthily – exercising, eating well, moderating alcohol, and avoiding smoking – might lower the risk. Another risk factor is hormone changes, such as changes in estrogen levels. Imbalances in estrogen levels have been indicated in the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's for both men and women.

Brain changes begin years before symptoms emerge. The brain's myriad nerve cells communicate for thinking, learning, remembering, and sensory processing. These cells need energy, oxygen, and smooth internal processes to stay healthy. In Alzheimer's, specific cell processes start malfunctioning, though it's unclear where the trouble begins. Dysfunction in one area affects others, causing cells to lose function and eventually perish, leading to irreversible brain changes.

Two abnormal structures, plaques and tangles, contribute to nerve cell damage. Plaques are beta-amyloid protein accumulations between cells, and tangles are twisted tau protein fibers within the cells. While aging leads to some plaques and tangles, Alzheimer's patients have more of these that start in memory areas and spread.

Plaques and tangles' exact role in Alzheimer's remains uncertain. Yet, experts believe they disrupt cell communication and essential processes, causing cell destruction and death. This results in memory loss, personality changes, daily activity difficulties, and other symptoms of Alzheimer's.

What is The Importance of Regular Lab Testing for Alzheimer's Patients?

Regular lab testing is crucial for patients with Alzheimer's because it can help monitor changes in cognitive function over time and assess the effectiveness of treatment interventions, allowing for adjustments to be made. Individuals experiencing memory issues should have regular appointments with their doctor every six to twelve months. 

The doctor and care team may want to run regular tests to analyze if other conditions are causing memory problems, as some may be reversible. In the case of Alzheimer's disease, this condition gradually worsens as time goes on. People with the disease experience different rates of progression, ranging from mild Alzheimer's, where initial symptoms are noticed, to severe stages, where they become entirely reliant on others for basic daily care, like feeding themselves, making regular monitoring an essential part of care for Alzheimer's patients.

Top Labs for Bi-Annual Testing in Alzheimer's Patients

It's important to note that there isn't a single test to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, and multiple tests are used to diagnose this condition, such as a thorough family history, imaging, memory tests, and other tests that analyze blood, urine, or CSF (cerebral spinal fluid).

Practitioners use the following labs to monitor and improve cognitive function, which can be run bi-annually to help manage Alzheimer's progression:

Micronutrient Panel

Sufficient levels of B vitamins such as B12, niacin, and folate are linked with cognitive health and can be protective against Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, using a micronutrient panel to assess levels can aid in targeted supplement approaches to optimize these nutrient levels for patients with Alzheimer's or at risk for developing it. This test is completed through a blood sample, and retesting is a generally simple process to ensure that adequate doses of these nutrients are being met.

Toxin Exposure Assessment

Hair element analysis is a noninvasive test that checks for exposure to harmful metals and analyzes other element levels. It identifies over 30 elements, including toxins such as arsenic, lead, and mercury, that have been shown to impact cognitive health negatively. This analysis can reveal imbalances or excesses in these elements, helping identify factors behind health issues, including neurological disorders. This test should be completed regularly to continue assessing exposure levels and ensure that treatments reduce those levels if toxin exposure has been found to result in a cognitive decline.

Hormone Panel

Research has shown that age-related hormone changes, such as changes in estrogen levels, can increase the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's for both men and women. A comprehensive hormone panel should be conducted regularly for people who are at risk for these neurological issues. The results of this panel can provide insights into customized interventions to address the imbalances of these hormones, and retesting can examine if any adjustments need to be made for those interventions.

Alzheimer's LINX

The Alzheimer's LINX™ examines immune responses linked to Alzheimer's. It can pinpoint those with higher Alzheimer's risk, detect early neurodegeneration, and track the impact of lifestyle changes on the disease. This test is completed through a serum sample and is recommended for anyone with cognitive decline or the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

Neural Zoomer

Neural Zoomer combines blood and genetic tests to detect specific antibodies and assess the risk of Neurological Autoimmune disease. Its goal is to lower neurological disorders by empowering early detection so that personalized prevention strategies can be implemented.

Additional Labs to Check 

Additional tests include Beta-amyloid imaging and cognitive assessment in managing Alzheimer's. Amyloid PET imaging identifies beta-amyloid accumulation not only in plaques but also in brain blood vessels. Since plaques are present in all AD patients, beta-amyloid is thought to play a crucial role in the disease. Another test typically completed with Alzheimer's patients is cognitive assessment. These tests are done to check memory, problem-solving, attention, counting, and language skills to help monitor disease progression.

Tracking Alzheimer's Disease Progression Through Lab Testing

The advances in research have led to an increased ability to track disease progression in Alzheimer's, though more research is needed. With the advances in biomarkers and testing, researchers can now observe changes related to Alzheimer's in the brain. These advancements allow practitioners to follow the disease's progression, test the effectiveness of potential treatments, and even measure some biomarkers digitally. These biomarkers can help track health processes, monitor medication responses, and identify health risks. They are found in blood, body fluids, organs, and tissues. Biomarkers also play a crucial role in dementia research. They aid in detecting early brain changes, understanding risk factors, selecting suitable participants for trials, and tracking responses to interventions like drugs or exercise, which are important in optimizing patient care in Alzheimer's treatment.



There are many benefits to an accurate early diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Early diagnosis and proper monitoring can help create treatment strategies and plans for long-term care. Although there is no cure, utilizing this approach enables practitioners to monitor the effectiveness of treatment strategies and disease progression. It can also aid in creating coping strategies for people living with this condition and their loved ones. Regular lab testing can be effective as part of the comprehensive care needed for people with Alzheimer's and their support system.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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  10. ‌Janicki, S. C., & Schupf, N. (2010). Hormonal influences on cognition and risk for Alzheimer's disease. Current neurology and neuroscience reports, 10(5), 359–366.
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