Blood may hold key to test for dementia
SCIENTISTS say they are close to developing a blood test that can detect Alzheimer's at a much earlier stage than is currently possible.
Currently, diagnosis can take years, but experts believe the disease begins to develop more than 10 years before the first clinical symptoms appear.
Researchers at King's College London say they have made a "significant step" in developing a test which could allow detection of the conditionbefore noticeable warning signs.
The blood test could be available within five years, and there could be a drug to prevent the disease within the decade.
It comes ahead of a summit in London on Wednesday, at which the G8 group of nations will meet to plan a new approach to research and treatment of the disease.
Simon Lovestone, professor of old-age psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, said: "We are nervous about claiming too many breakthroughs but I think we are seeing in this study more promising data than before."
Out of the tens of thousands of proteins that are contained in our blood, researchers believe they have identified 10 that could be used to detect Alzheimer's.
The researchers obtained blood samples and clinical data including brain scans from thousands of volunteers.