Australian scientists have claimed that they are one step closer to developing a blood test which can predict Alzheimer’s years before symptoms appear.
New research has identified markers in the blood that can indicate if the disease was starting to develop in the brain.
A test was done on 273 people and it was found that changes in the blood and brain scans matched with over 80 per cent accuracy.
There are no drugs that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,but doctors said finding patients before symptoms appear is very important,according to a ABC report.
Noel Faux from Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health said the progressive build-up of the toxic protein amyloid beta is one of the earliest changes associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Amyloid beta levels become abnormal about 17 years before dementia symptoms appear,” he said adding “This gives us a much longer time to intervene to try to slow disease progression if we are able to detect cases early.
“CSIRO scientist Samantha Burnham said a blood test is an accessible form of screening for the disease.
“We’re hoping that in a few years,maybe five to 10 years,that we could be able to roll this out as frontline screening for Alzheimer’s disease,giving those at risk a much better chance of receiving treatment earlier,before it’s too late to do much about it,” she said.
One quarter of a million Australians currently suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s is the leading cause.
By 2050,it is predicted that one million people will have the disease.
Alzheimer’s Australia spokesman John Watkins says treating the disease early could delay its onset by years.
“If we can identify people early this may be a window where we can actually modify the course of the disease,” he said.