More than 5 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s. Now, British researchers say they have made an important step forward in developing a test that predicts the fatal disease.
Researchers at King’s College London say they are developing a blood test that could help families coping with the disease.
They’ve found ten proteins in the blood that could reveal early changes in the brain related to Alzheimer’s – before a patient has symptoms.
Scientists hope their findings will eventually lead to patients being put on drugs early to delay or even stop the disease.
Research study senior author, Professor Simon Lovestone said, “You take a drug, and in effect you would have the clinical symptoms prevented. Even if the disease has already started in your brain.”
Researchers analyzed blood samples from more than a thousand people. They were able to predict with 87% accuracy whether people with mild memory and thinking problems would develop Alzheimer’s within a year.
Many patients with dementia are diagnosed too late. Researchers hope their test will identify the disease sooner.
A woman who lost a parent to Alzheimer’s disease, Vivienne Hill said, “If we had that blood test, it would have reassured us something is wrong. Knowledge is strength and we can start planning for the future.”
Hill’s mother suffered with Alzheimer’s for eight years before she died. Hill hopes the new findings will save others from the despair her family faced.
Over the past 15 years, more than 100 experimental Alzheimer’s drugs have failed in trial.