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What is the DISCERN™ skin test?

DISCERN™ is a test to help your clinician determine if you have Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). DISCERN™ was developed by Synaps Dx and has been rigorously tested and has shown to be accurate for identifying AD in people recently diagnosed with dementia.

Is the DISCERN test for everyone with memory issues?

No. DISCERN™ has been studied only in people diagnosed with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association describes dementia as loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Your clinician can diagnose dementia through medical history, a physical exam, laboratory and cognitive tests.

What is measured in the DISCERN™ test?

DISCERN™ is a combination of three tests performed on the same skin sample in the lab.  These tests evaluate different factors associated with changes in the networks of nerves and how they connect in your brain.  Changes in nerve networks and how they connect have been shown to be related to the memory problems seen in AD.  Additionally, DISCERN™ evaluates enzymes that regulate the formation of amyloid plaque which is usually seen in people with AD.   Amyloid plaques are proteins that are incorrectly folded and form in the spaces between nerve cells. These abnormally configured proteins are thought to play a central role in Alzheimer’s disease. The amyloid plaques first develop in the areas of the brain concerned with memory and other cognitive functions.

Who should have the DISCERN™ test?

If you are experiencing memory decline, you should talk to your health care provider.Your health care provider can determine if the DISCERN™ test is right for you.

Alzheimer’s disease runs in my family. Should I take the DISCERN™ test?

The DISCERN™ test may be appropriate if your healthcare professional has diagnosed you with dementia. DISCERN™ has not bee studied in people with mild cognitive impairment or in people with a family history of AD who have not been diagnosed with dementia.

Getting the DISCERN™ Test

How Do I Get The DISCERN™ Test?

Only a healthcare provider can order the DISCERN™ test. The DISCERN™ test is not available everywhere and we can help you find a provider in your area who offers the DISCERN™ test.

What’s involved in getting the test?

A health care provider will collect a small skin sample from your forearm using a standard collection device. Your test sample will be sent to our laboratory where the tests will be performed.

How long does it take to get the DISCERN™ test results?

The DISCERN test usually requires 8 and 10 weeks to receive the results.  Once the sample is received in the lab, the skin sample taken by your clinician is grown in the lab.  Some skin samples grow slower than others and it normally takes 6 weeks for the skin sample to grow enough to run the DISCERN test.  During this time, your clinician will have updates available on the status of your test.  Once the DISCERN tests are run on the skin sample, a report will be sent to your clinician who will discuss the findings with you.

Is The DISCERN™ Test Covered By Insurance, Medicare, Or Medicaid?

The DISCERN™ test is new and the full cost is covered by Medicare Fee for Service.  If you have Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) or private insurance, check with your insurance company as many do not yet cover the test as Synaps Dx is currently working to establish reimbursement.  Patients may be responsible for paying out-of-pocket for DISCERN if insurance does not cover it.

How will I receive my results?

Synaps Dx will send a lab report with the test results to your health care provider who is best qualified to make a diagnosis.  This could take 8-10 weeks from the time your skin sample was taken.

Other Questions

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive issues serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. For more information and resources on Alzheimer’s Disease, please visit Alzheimer’s Association – What is Alzheimer’s or visit our Resource tab.