Diagnosing Alzheimer Disease With New Blood Tests in Primary Care Settings: Sebastian Palmqvist, MD, PhD


The associate professor of neuroscience at Lund University in Sweden discussed findings from a study of a new blood test examining biomarkers which demonstrated a high accuracy in identifying Alzheimer disease pathology. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

“It shows that you can get a very high positive predictive value that highlights the likelihood of being a positive test, indicating AD pathology that is well above 90% and in some cases between 95 to 100% depending on the cohort. This means that these tests can probably be used to identify AD pathology with the same accuracy as the current cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers that we're using.”

Primary care serves as both the initial and ultimate level of support from providers for a majority of patients facing cognitive impairment such as those living with Alzheimer disease (AD). In a recent study presented at the 2023 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, July 16-20, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, by lead author Sebastian Palmqvist, MD, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience, Lund University, Sweden, showed that providers had difficulty identifying AD in patients with cognitive impairment in the primary care setting.1 Results from the study also supported the use of a new blood test for recognizing AD pathology to improve diagnostic accuracy and the treatment of AD in the primary care setting.

In the study, researchers enrolled 307 middle-aged to older adult patients from 17 primary care centers in Sweden (mean age = 76, women, 48%). After cognitive testing and an imaging scan of the brain, primary care providers made their diagnosis, established the likely biological causes, and recommended a treatment plan for each patient. During the same time, a blood sample was collected to analyze the potential concentrations of beta-amyloid and phosphorylated tau using the PrecivityAD2 test. All patients underwent a clinical examination and evaluation conducted by a specialist who was blinded to the result of the blood sample.2

Palmqvist sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® during the meeting to provide an overview of the presentation. He talked about how the new blood test results compare to current cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in identifying AD. Palmqvist also talked about some of the key challenges when implementing the blood test in the primary care setting and how they can be addressed. In addition, he shared his insights on how the test can be optimized to improve its negative predictive value for ruling out AD pathology.

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1.Palmqvist S, Tideman P, Braunstein JB, et al.Blood Biomarkers Improve The Diagnostic Accuracy Of Alzheimer’s Disease As Compared With Current Diagnostic Standard In the Primary Care Setting. Presented at: 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference; July 16 to July 20; Amsterdam, the Netherlands.Abstract 78819.
2. Simple Finger Prick Test Exemplifies Advances in Alzheimer’s Disease Blood Tests. News Release. Alzheimer’s Association. Published July 19, 2023. Accessed July 20, 2023. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/simple-finger-prick-test-exemplifies-advances-in-alzheimers-disease-blood-tests-301879993.html#:~:text=Results%20from%20a%20simple%2C%20finger,have%20access%20to%20the%20test.
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