May 3, 2023

The Cost Burdens of Diagnosing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease: Alarming Issues for Patients, Providers and Payers Nationwide

In 2022, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cost the United States an estimated $321 billion with 6 million Americans living with AD. Experts expect the number of people with AD to double by 2050, bringing the astronomical cost of AD to $1 trillion.

This cost is partly made up of current diagnostic pathways such as expensive MRI, CSF punctures and PET scantests used to help determine which patients may have AD. These tests are often invasive and expensive with pricing between $1,300 – $3,000 and according to the Alzheimer’s Association, not covered by Medicare for diagnosing AD. Costs could be even higher considering repeat testing for patients who have received a misdiagnosis, a common problem in the current diagnostic pathway. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 50-70% of symptomatic patients are incorrectly diagnosed with AD in the community setting and that number is reduced to 25%-30% misdiagnosed in specialized memory clinics.

Now that the AD community is seeing AD treatments with FDA approval, the high costs of drugs like Leqembi, which is priced at $26,500, will also have to be examined.

In addition to these considerable costs, the United States has also estimated the price of unpaid care provided by friends and family to people with AD and other dementias. Over 11 million people provided more than 16 billion hours of unpaid care in 2021, valued at $272 billion.

Given the complexity of this disease, getting an accurate diagnosis is critical for ensuring that people get the right treatment as soon as possible, to mitigate the rising costs of AD.

Cost-Effective Diagnostic Tools

The SDx team recognizes that clinicians need better tools to identify AD in people recently diagnosed with dementia, especially in early disease when patients and caregivers have the most options for treatment and ability to slow disease progression. The DISCERNTM test supports a clinician’s definitive diagnosis of AD versus other forms of dementia, even in people recently diagnosed with dementia. Without an accurate diagnosis, it is challenging to administer treatment protocols and help families plan for the care of a loved one.

DISCERN has over 95% sensitivity and specificity and combines three independently accurate biomarkers:

  • Morphometric Imaging to measure fibroblasts’ ability to form networks
  • Protein Kinase C ε to measure synaptic growth
  • AD-Index to measure phosphorylation of Erk1 and Erk2 in response to bradykinin.

Read more about the science behind the test, here and contact SYNAPS Dx for more information on testing for AD.

* The DISCERN™ test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by NeuroDiagnostics Inc, dba Synaps Dx. It has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. NeuroDiagnostics, Inc. is regulated under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) as an accredited laboratory to perform high complexity clinical testing. The test is intended for patients with dementia. Test results should be interpreted in conjunction with other laboratory and clinical data available to the clinician. All rights reserved.