Update on Alzheimer's blood tests | Is time right for AI in pathology? | C-reactive protein tests find role in COPD

Dear LabPulse Member,

Development of a reliable blood test for Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementias would represent a huge advance in a field that has had more than its share of setbacks in failed clinical trials. LabPulse.com checked in with the Alzheimer's Association for study highlights in testing at its annual meeting, held July 14-18 in Los Angeles. Keith Fargo, director of scientific engagement, shared his insights with us about how plasma tests for amyloid compare to other methods and more in an interview from the meeting.

In other diagnostics news, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently updated its Model List of Essential In Vitro Diagnostics (EDL), and the new version includes a range of cancer tests for the first time, as well as some new general laboratory tests. This is just the second version of the EDL, whereas the WHO's Model List of Essential Medicines has been around since the 1970s. The expectation is that the EDL will continue to expand over time, as has been the case with the medicines list.

The C-reactive protein inflammation marker was in the spotlight in the New England Journal of Medicine, which included a prospective study report about how point-of-care testing is helpful for reducing the use of antibiotics for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The idea is that the test could be used to screen patients and ensure appropriate use, in accordance with guidelines.

And this week, contributing writer Joseph Constance takes a futuristic look at the field of pathology, with an article about the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to improve the quality of diagnoses, as well as the efficiency of workflow in labs. AI won't replace pathologists, rather it promises to help them focus attention on their most challenging cases and collaborate more easily and effectively in the future.

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