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New study will spot earliest signs of dementia

September 27, 2016

A landmark study that hopes to improve the success rate of research trials for finding treatments for Alzheimer’s disease has been announced.

The Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study, conducted by the Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research, will involve the most thorough series of tests to detect Alzheimer’s disease “ever performed” on volunteers.

Spotting the earliest signs of dementia is an increasingly important part of finding effective treatments, says the Alzheimer’s Society, as it allows patients to enter research trials before their condition is too advanced.

The brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease can start to change many years before any visible symptoms appear, and this study will look into the biological markers in people at risk of developing the disease to find ways to identify the changes as early as possible.

Matt Murray, Engagement and Participation Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “This exciting research will help transform our understanding of the earliest signs and symptoms of dementia, supporting researchers to ensure that they recruit the most appropriate people for their trials.

“With help from Alzheimer’s Society, people in the early stages of dementia tried out the procedures that are involved in the study and shared their experiences to ensure the trial wouldn’t be daunting for others. While people were nervous about some of the tests, this try out stage successfully made them feel more comfortable recommending the study to other people. Making sure that people affected by dementia have their voices heard when studies are being designed is an essential step and gives the trial the greatest chance of success.”

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