Quest Diagnostics announced the availability of the AD-Detect Test for Alzheimer’s Disease on questhealth.com, a blood test available for consumer purchase that helps assess the potential risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease based on a brain protein that contributes to the condition.*
Quest announced the test’s availability amid a rapidly changing landscape for Alzheimer’s disease care, featuring new and emerging therapies, growing recognition that non-pharmacological interventions can reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk, and greater medical acceptance of blood tests to aid early Alzheimer’s disease detection.
AD-Detect is a screening test that uses plasma, the liquid component of blood, from a single blood draw to evaluate levels of amyloid beta proteins to help detect early signs associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid beta proteins are known to accumulate and form plaques in the brain, which are linked to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. AD-Detect evaluates the ratio of two peptides of amyloid beta, Aβ42 and Aβ40, in plasma.
The new consumer-initiated test utilizes the same expertise and technology as Quest’s clinical AD-Detect Amyloid Beta 42/40 Ratio test, an analytically validated blood test that aids in assessing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (i,ii), which the company launched for physician ordering in early 2022. By making the innovation available through Quest’s consumer-initiated testing platform, questhealth.com, people can purchase AD-Detect without the need to visit a doctor first, giving them greater agency over the decision on when and how to assess their cognitive health.
The test offering also ensures individuals have access to a continuum of care, with an independent physician network providing clinical oversight of test ordering and results delivery. Individuals can discuss results with a licensed physician to help them understand what their results may mean and to determine an action plan for continued care, including whether a follow-up with their physician or a specialist may be appropriate.
“We are seeing much attention on emerging therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, but with new treatment options will come the need to make screening and diagnosis more widely available. Blood tests like AD-Detect hold incredible potential to make Alzheimer’s disease risk assessment both accessible and convenient,” says Michael K. Racke, MD, medical director of Neurology, Quest Diagnostics. “We’re also seeing a push from consumers who have a desire to take more control of their health, including within more advanced areas like Alzheimer’s disease risk assessment.”
Consumers have expressed a desire to take a more proactive approach to Alzheimer’s disease screening and a willingness to explore earlier diagnosis, particularly if it can connect them to earlier treatment options. A recent research report (iii) from Quest Diagnostics based on a Harris Poll survey found that adult Americans want to be evaluated for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, nearly 10 years earlier than current medical practice (iv) – even despite fear of a diagnosis. The vast majority (86%) also believe blood tests for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease risk will increasingly become a regular part of preventative care.
Detection of Alzheimer’s disease has traditionally involved screening individuals for symptoms of cognitive impairment, such as forgetfulness, followed by invasive and expensive tests, such as PET scans and cerebrospinal fluid tests, to confirm a diagnosis. Interventions to stall or potentially mitigate Alzheimer’s disease, including behavioral changes (such as exercising more) or use of emerging Alzheimer’s disease therapies, may be most effective when initiated in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
The new test from Quest may be appropriate for individuals who believe they are experiencing cognitive decline or if an individual’s loved one recognizes potential signs of mild cognitive impairment, such as memory loss, as well as those with family history of Alzheimer’s disease – even if they are not exhibiting symptoms, are 65 years of age or older, or have had brain trauma or head injury, the company says in a release. Blood tests like AD-Detect can help provide insights on potential risk of Alzheimer’s disease and help individuals facilitate necessary discussions with their doctors.
Individuals who purchase a test online and have the test ordered by the independent physician network will be prompted to schedule an appointment at one of 2,100 Quest Diagnostics patient service centers for a blood draw. Test results are made available on a secure patient portal and delivered in a clear, easy-to-read report.
Licensed physicians provide oversight for all tests based upon the information that individuals provide to Quest. This includes test ordering and evaluating results once available. With AD-Detect, individuals can also discuss their results with a licensed physician through the independent physician network that orders the test. In addition, they can share results with other doctors, such as their regular primary care physician, providing multiple ways to connect with a healthcare provider who can help determine interventions and a management plan that is most beneficial to each individual.
More than six million Americans (v) have Alzheimer’s, the most prevalent dementia, a number projected to reach 14 million (vi) by 2060. With blood tests comes the potential to identify people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease even before symptoms manifest. A growing body of research suggests lifestyle and environmental factors, from physical activity to social interactions, can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. (vii)
AD-Detect is now available for purchase to adults (ages 18+) in the United States** on questhealth.com.
*The AD-Detect Test for Alzheimer’s Disease available through Quest’s consumer-initiated testing platform is a screening test to help identify potential risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It is not a diagnostic test. Only a physician or healthcare professional can provide an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, and the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease as the underlying cause for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia should be considered in conjunction with the findings from medical and family history, physicals, nutritional deficiency biomarkers, neurological and neuropsychological examinations, and neuroimaging. Individuals may seek to confer with a physician to understand their results and whether additional testing and assessment is right for them.
**Excludes AK, AZ, and HI
|i Data on file. Quest Diagnostics; 2022.|
|ii Burnham SC, Fandos N, Fowler C, et al. Longitudinal evaluation of the natural history of amyloid-β in plasma and brain. Brain Commun. 2020;2(1)fcaa041. doi:10.1093/braincomms/fcaa041|
|iii The Coming Alzheimer’s Disease Healthcare Revolution: U.S. Physician and Adult Perspectives on the Future of Diagnostics and Treatment|
|iv The Coming Alzheimer’s Disease Healthcare Revolution|
|v Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures Report | Alzheimer’s Association|
|vi The Truth About Aging and Dementia | CDC|