For those who have read our blog or know anything about Alzheimer's, you know that this particular disease can be truly devastating on a patient as well as their family. The disease causes brain cells to degenerate, eventually impacting everything from a person's socialization skills to their ability to remember things. As the disease progresses, functioning in daily life can become impossible, forcing a patient to seek oftentimes costly health care assistance.
As we explained a few months ago in a post on Alzheimer's disease, disability benefits are available to people living with Alzheimer's disease, provided they meet the Social Security Administration's requirements. Getting benefits though, as you know, requires an accurate diagnosis of the disease. But when it comes to Alzheimer's, there isn't one clinical test that can determine whether or not a person has it. A person may need months worth of tests before a proper diagnosis is given, wracking up thousands of dollars in bills in the process.
If Alzheimer's could be diagnosed earlier, then a patient could get access to benefits sooner. In years past, this was not possible; but now, with the discovery of a new test, doctors may be able to help their patients more than before.
As those who follow the news may already know, scientists recently developed a saliva test that can detect Alzheimer's in patients because of specific biomarkers produced by the disease. Because the test is minimally invasive, patients can get tested whenever they like. This means that early detection is possible and doctors will get a better assessment of a patient's risk for developing the disease.
The hope among many is that the development of this new test will one day mean that a cure is just around the corner. Scientists do have a long way to go though, which means disability benefits are still required for those living with Alzheimer's disease.
Sources: CNN, "New saliva test may catch Alzheimer's disease early," Liza Lucas, July 20, 2015
The Alzheimer's Association, "How is Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosed?" Accessed Aug. 18, 2015