There's some interesting research being conducted on Alzheimer's. Let's get caught up on a little bit of it.
On the way home from work last night, I listened to a story on All Things Considered about how research into prion diseases like Mad Cow has shown a connection to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The researcher indicates this connection may actually allow us to find a way to slow the progression of these diseases by slowing how the prions which are folded incorrectly spread from neuron to neuron.
In another study, it turns out that tau can be found in skin biopsies. Tau is also problematic in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Individuals with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's have seven time higher levels of abnormal tau in their skin biopsies than individuals without one of the diseases. As a result, a skin biopsy may be a way to detect them before the symptoms reach clinical levels.
Finally, another study indicates that a blood test which evaluates the level of transferrin, the protein which moves iron around the body, may be indicative of a risk for Alzheimer's. The theory is that if you have too little transferrin, you get a build up of iron which leads to neurological diseases to develop.