Doctor invents test aimed at identifying Alzheimer's risk

The Alzheimer’s Association says 5.8 million people in America have Alzheimer’s disease. That number is projected to hit 14 million by 2050.

A doctor in Los Angeles has invented a simple blood test to assess people’s risk of developing the disease years before symptoms show up.   

Bailey Slater is 54 and loves life with her family, Dodger and Bixby. Earlier years were a less happy time, when her mother suffered and died from Alzheimer’s. So is Slater at risk? 

“As soon as I learned that there are behavioral changes that I could make in my lifestyle that would lower my risk, I thought I wanted as much information as I can get,” Slater said.

Her search led her to Dr. Elroy Vojdani, a functional medicine physician who helped create a blood test to assess the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. A vial of blood is separated in a centrifuge, and the immune-related components are analyzed in a lab. 

“This is the first time that we can get a glimpse at how abnormal interactions between the immune system are affecting the health of the brain,” Vojdani said.

Slater’s test showed that her brain doesn’t regenerate quickly enough. Vojdani has her on a plant-based diet and a brain supplement. He said customized diets are 80%of the changes needed. He also promotes more exercise, brain games and sleep. 

“They want to know what’s happening between the outside and the inside that could potentially put them at risk for this. This is what the test is perfect for right now,” Vojdani said.

“For me, it’s huge, because I really lived in fear of getting the disease, and now I finally have hope that I can do something to change my destiny,” Slater shared.

Vojdani has tested about 40 patients and said the most impaired have the most brain abnormalities. He also said the test is most useful for folks in their mid-40s.

Right now, you can only get the test done through a lab called Cyrex in Arizona. Your doctor can order the test, which costs $495 and gives results in three weeks or less.

Some clinical trials have begun, but there may not be enough data for an FDA study for 10 to 15 years.