SPRING HILL, Fla. — A blood test that could detect Alzheimer’s disease before a patient shows symptoms is making headlines nationwide. A new study shows the test, which targets damaging proteins associated with the disease, could be up to 97% accurate.  

What You Need To Know

  • A new test could identify Alzheimer's earlier than expected

  • A bill under consideration in the Florida Legislature could make it so the tests would be paid for with Medicaid or state insurance funds

  • One man suffering from Alzheimer's hopes that others can benefit from early detection.

It’s one of several emerging biomarker testing methods that could hit the market in the next few years. If a bill making its way through the Florida Legislature is passed, this type of test could be covered under Medicaid and state insurance plans.

Dr. Susan Steen, the medical director at Axiom Brain Health, said that something as simple as a blood test could provide an Alzheimer’s diagnosis before a patient has symptoms.

“We know that the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease can begin 20-25 years before people have symptoms,” she said. “And that pathology, particularly amyloid pathology and tau pathology, can be discovered in people using these biomarkers.”

Some of the tests are already approved by the FDA, like certain brain imaging methods. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that other blood-based methods could come to market in the next few years.

That is part of the reason why the organization is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 964, which would require Medicaid-managed insurance plans, as well as state insurance plans, to provide coverage for biomarker testing.

Peggy Misciagna’s husband Tom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease more than a decade ago. At first, doctors thought he was suffering from depression and it took more than a year to get the proper diagnosis.

“So much heartache,” Peggy said. “Just waiting and always wondering each time you went in.”

The couple are in support of the new legislation, and say they hope it could help someone else get the early detection Tom was unable to receive.

“He just doesn’t want anyone to go through a single day of what he’s going through,” Peggy said.

If passed, the coverage for biomarker testing through Medicaid and state insurance plans would begin Jan. 1, 2025.