Scientists have identified a set of 10 proteins in the blood that can predict the onset of Alzheimer’s and call this an important step towards developing a test for the brain-wasting disease.
Such a test could initially be used to select patients for clinical trials of experimental treatments being developed to try to halt progression of Alzheimer’s, the researchers said, and may one day move into routine use in doctors’ clinics.
Simon Lovestone of Oxford University, who led the work said, “A simple blood test could help us identify patients at a much earlier stage to take part in new trials and hopefully develop treatments.”
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a brain-wasting disease which in 2010 was estimated to be costing the world $604 billion a year.
The fatal disease affects 44 million people worldwide, with the number set to triple by 2050, the campaign group Alzheimer’s Disease International says.
James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the research “does not mean that a blood test for dementia is just around the corner”. “Accuracy would need to be improved before it could be a useful diagnostic test.”