Early detection of Alzheimer’s [podcast]

Dr. James Arruda, professor in the University of West Florida Department of Psychology, recently signed a consulting and licensing agreement with California-based company, BIOPAC Systems Inc., to collaborate on the development of a device that could be instrumental in the early detection of Alzheimer’s. A patent is estimated to be completed within six months.

Arruda has dedicated more than a decade to Alzheimer’s research, with a focus on searching for a biomarker that may hasten the detection and treatment of the disease so that patients may have an improved quality of life. In a press release, He said, “This research was motivated by the global need for a non-invasive, inexpensive, easily administered and accurate measure of Alzheimer’s related neuropathology.”

Arruda said they are working on an electroencephalographic, or EEG, device capable of detecting the early neuropathological changes associated with Alzheimer’s dementia. This includes amnestic mild cognitive impairment, which he said most clinicians believe is an early risk factor for Alzheimer’s. An EEG device offers a solution that is less expensive, more readily available and less invasive than other currently used methods such as positron emission tomography, known as PET, scans and cerebrospinal fluid collection and analysis.

In a conversation on WCOA, Arruda explained the value of early detection of Alzheimer’s.

“The name of the game is early detection, primarily because we haven’t been able to come up with a cure for individuals who are in the latter stages of the disease,” he said. “The earlier we detect this, the more likely it is that we can find a cure.”

Arruda continued, “And some of the treatments that we’ve had in the past may actually work if we detect it early enough. They have not been successful in individuals where we’ve tried to apply them later, when somebody’s certainly dramatically presenting with symptoms.”