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Blood test ‘detects Alzheimer’s 20 years before onset’

Test could become available to GPs within a few years

A blood test that can detect signs of Alzheimer’s up to 20 years before the onset of symptoms is a step closer to being developed, according to scientists in the US.

Researchers in St Louis have discovered a way to measure how much of the damaging protein linked to the disease has built up on the brain.

They claimed the test is 94% accurate when taking age and genetic risk factors into account.

The study, reported by Sky News, found initial blood tests had flagged early signs of dementia, which brain scans had missed.

The blood test could provide a way to efficiently screen for people with early signs of the disease so they can take part in trials looking at whether drugs can prevent it.

Senior author Randall J Bateman, professor of neurology in Washington University’s medical school, said thousands of people a month could be screened for the disease.

“That means we can more efficiently enrol participants in clinical trials, which will help us find treatments faster, and could have an enormous impact on the cost of the disease as well as the human suffering that goes with it,” he added.

Researchers hope a blood test will become available to GPs within a few years.