Researchers in the UK have developed an early warning blood test that would help in treating Alzheimer’s while the disease is still mild enough to diagnose more effectively.
Experts in the University of Nottingham have been working on the quick and easy test that can be conducted in clinics, revolutionising the prospects of treatment of the degenerative disease.
“Our findings are exciting because they show that it is technically possible to distinguish between healthy people and those with Alzheimer’s using a blood test.
As blood tests are a fast and easy way of aiding diagnosis, we are really encouraged by these findings and the potential they hold for the future,” said Professor Kevin Morgan from the university.
The test, which uses some proteins that have been strongly linked with Alzheimer’s disease, such as amyloid and APOE, detects the markers at early stages, which are suggestive of disease linked with the loss of cognitive ability.
According to the researchers, potentially the test could be a “cheap and easy pre-screen” test, which enabled Alzheimer’s to be picked up before symptoms appeared.
As there is no cure for the dementia associated with the disease, the key to beating it lies in early detection as treatment is more effective at holding off the confusion and memory loss generally associated with old age.
Professor Morgan said the combination of markers they had found was looking very promising.
There are several ways the test could benefit patients, including giving people a definitive diagnosis, which is not always possible at the moment, he said adding it could also direct future therapies to make sure patients were getting the most appropriate treatment.
However, the new blood test still has to be validated and it could be a decade before it is used in patients.