Scientists have developed skin tests that may be used in the future to identify people with Alzheimer’s disease and may ultimately allow physicians to predict ___51___ is at risk of getting this neurological disorder.
The only current means of ___52___ the disease in a living patient is a long and expensive series of tests that eliminate every other cause of dementia.
“Since Aloes Alzheimer described the ___53___ nearly a century ago, people have been trying to find a way to ___54___ diagnose it in its early stages,” said Patricia Grady, acting director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland. “This discovery, if ___55___ , could prove a big step forward in our efforts to deal with and understand the disease.”
Alzheimer’s is the single greatest ___56___ of mental deterioration in older people, affecting between 2.5 million and 4 million people in the United States ___57___. The devastating disorder gradually destroys memory and the ability to function, and eventually causes death. There is currently no known ___58___ for the disease.
Researches ___59___ that the skin cells of Alzheimer’s patients have defects that interfere with their ability to regulate the flow of potassium in and out of the cells. The fact that the cell defects are present in the skin suggests that Alzheimer’s ___60___ from physiological changes throughout the body, and that dementia may be the first noticeable effect of these changes as the defects ___61___ the cells in the brain, scientists said.
The flow of potassium is especially ___62___ in cells responsible for memory formation. The scientists also found two other defects that affect the cells’ supply of calcium, another critical element.
One test developed by researches calls ___63___ growing skin cells in a labor