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Blood test could detect early signs of Alzheimer's

Monday 11th March 2013
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Researchers in the UK claim to have developed a blood test that could be used in order to help diagnose the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists at the University of Nottingham found that 'markers' in the blood were different in healthy people, as opposed to those who suffered from the disease.

The research team presented their findings to delegates at the Alzheimer's Research UK Conference, where they also claimed that a possible test for the conditions could be easily carried out in clinics, and lead to much earlier diagnosis, as well as better treatments.

Some proteins have been strongly linked with the condition, such as amyloid and APOE.

However, after carefully analysing the blood from people suffering from the disease, along with those with the early stages of memory loss, researchers found that there were a number of other indicators that pointed to the disease.

Those behind the research have claimed the results of the findings could offer a number of benefits for patients, including being able to give a complete and definitive diagnosis, something which is not always possible with current tests.

The university's professor Kevin Morgan said that the test had to be validated before it could be rolled out to patients, a process that could take up to ten years.

But he said that the findings remained very promising.

He said: "Our findings are exciting because they show that it is technically possible to distinguish between healthy people and those with Alzheimer's using a blood test".

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, told the BBC: "Giving people with dementia an accurate diagnosis is not always easy, and so building up our armoury of diagnostic techniques is vital.
"While there is still some way to go before a test like this could become available, the results are promising."

The University of Nottingham has often been involved in researching methods of treating the disease. Last November, a team of researchers managed discovered that a certain genetic mutation left some people at risk of the condition.

Written by Megan Smith

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