PIONEERING research by a team of top scientists could pave the way for a blood test to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Research led by experts at King’s College London can detect, with 87 per cent accuracy, which people with memory problems will go on to develop the illness.
The test, which has been in development for ten years, is being hailed by scientists as a “big step forward” and could be available within two years.
There are also hopes that it may pave the way for finding the cure for the condition, which has eluded experts for years.
At present, attempts to develop more effective treatments are often hampered by the fact that patients are diagnosed once the disease is already advanced – symptoms take around a decade to develop.
Professor Simon Lovestone, senior author of the study, said: “Many of our drug trials fail because by the time patients are given the drugs, the brain has already been too severely affected.
“A simple blood test could help us identify patients at a much earlier stage to take part in new trials and hopefully develop treatments which could prevent the progression of the disease.”
Dr James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said that the findings could revolutionise research into the condition but warned that a test was not “just around the corner”.
“Accuracy would need to be improved before it could be a useful diagnostic test,” he said.
“Only through further research will we find answers to the biggest questions around dementia, so we will watch the progress of this study with interest.”
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