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March 12, 2014

Predicting and Preventing Alzheimer’s

Researchers have discovered a blood test that can accurately predict the onset of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The test detects “biomarkers” in the blood that, if found, can determine if someone will develop Alzheimer’s disease within three years.

Scientists from Georgetown University Medical Centre monitored 525 healthy participants aged 70+ over five years. They compared blood samples from 53 participants who developed dementia to “cognitively normal” people. Researchers found that the biomarkers could predict with 90% accuracy whether or not a participant would go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s attacks the brain for more than a decade before any symptoms emerge. Scientists believe the best hope for a breakthrough treatment is to administer drugs to a patient long before they are symptomatic.

“This is a really welcome development,” said Dr. Doug Brown of the Alzheimer’s Society. “It takes us a step closer to something that could impact on the lives of thousands of people with dementia.”

An estimated 500,000 Canadians have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Worldwide, about 35.6 million people have Alzheimer’s. The number is expected to double in the next few decades.

http://youtu.be/9Wv9jrk-gXc

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