As scientists work to advance the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), there is a concerted effort on the diagnostic side to ensure that patients who are at risk for the disease or are experiencing early signs of dementia are identified as early as possible, when treatment may promote the best possible outcomes.

Recently, Quest Diagnostics announced the launch of a new test to aid in the assessment of cognitive impairment that may be associated with AD in symptomatic patients: Beta-Amyloid 42/40 Ratio and Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) Isoform Panel, CSF. This laboratory-developed test was officially launched at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Boston in April 2017. This will be the first amyloid beta (AB) test on the market that offers AB 42/40 ratios.  Recent literature suggests that reporting relative values of AB42 to AB40 helps normalize inter-patient variability in AB42 levels and assists with the differential diagnosis of AD.

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving, and cognitive functioning, and often are unrecognized during the early stages of disease. Almost 5.5 million Americans have dementia, and this number is projected to almost triple by 2050. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that the costs associated with dementia will reach more than $1 trillion by 2050. Early detection can help patients and families make long-term care plans. It can also help physicians better manage a patient’s comorbid conditions, avoid prescribing medications that may worsen function, and facilitate access to therapies that may slow progression.[i]

This new test adds to Quest’s current portfolio of advanced diagnostic tests for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It was validated and is performed at the Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute laboratory in San Juan Capistrano, California. AB42, AB40, and total ApoE quantification, as well ApoE isoform identification, are performed with mass spectrometry.

Quest, in collaboration with its Athena Diagnostics neurological and rare disease diagnostics business, is championing the development of new integrated diagnostics that combine multiple diagnostic modalities such as laboratory testing, digital cognitive assessment, imaging, and clinical knowledge to aid in the detection and diagnosis of dementia. Through collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center, Quest Diagnostics is also facilitating the development of evidence-based standards for screening, diagnosis, and monitoring of people with dementia to help improve outcomes and better address the needs of the nation’s aging population.

For more information on the work that Quest is doing in Alzheimer’s disease, visit:


[1] Alzheimer’s Association. 2015 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Alzheimers Dement. 2015;11:332-384.