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"Alzheimer's predicted by spinal-fluid test"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 10 Aug 2022

Category: Diagnostic Test

Rating: (1½ stars)

Keywords: alzheimer's spinal fluid biomarkers neuroimaging

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Alzheimer's disease can be accurately predicted by analyzing biomarkers in spinal fluid, researchers in Belgium have found.

A protein signature was found in the cerebrospinal fluid of 90 per cent of people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and 72 per cent of people with mild cognitive impairment or MCI, a disorder that often progresses to Alzheimer's...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 2 of 9
Availability of Test Not Satisfactory
Novelty of Test Satisfactory
Diagnostic Options Not Satisfactory
Disease Mongering Satisfactory
Evidence Not Satisfactory
Quantification of Diagnostic Accuracy/Benefits Not Satisfactory
Costs of Testing Not Satisfactory
Harms of Testing Not Satisfactory
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This story of the use of cerebrospinal fluid analyses to determine who will (or will not) develop Alzheimer's disease failed to include some pertinent information about this new testing procedure and, as a result, received low ratings.

First and foremost, the evidence presented in this story is vague. It does not clearly outline how the test was studied and provides little detail about the results. We learn from the article that the test is 80% accurate, reliable, noninvasive and inexpensive; however, we are not given any details to substantiate these points. There is no mention of the specificity and selectivity of the test (an essential aspect of understanding how well a screening test performs) and the article does not include information regarding the availability of the test and its potential harms.

In light of this proposed treatment, the hardest question to answer is only skirted around: What can we do if we determine someone is a 'likely' candidate to develop Alzheimer's disease? IS that knowledge going to improve their life in any substantive way or is it just going to cast a shadow on what remains of a person's life?

Readers have been short-changed on the evidence surrounding this new spinal-fluid test and deserve better reporting on such an important issue.

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