A research team with members from Japan and Australia have developed a blood test that can detect early signs of Alzheimer’s.
The test, which looks for the presence of amyloid beta, a toxic protein known to be present in the brain of those affected by Alzheimer’s, is reportedly 90 percent accurate. The buildup of the the abnormal protein is one sign of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
Researchers studied 121 Japanese patients and 252 Australians with the non-invasive blood test, all of whom were listed with varying degrees of health ranging from healthy, to mild cognitive impairments of Alzheimer’s.
Study leader, Colin Masters, professor of dementia research at Melbourne’s Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, says “This test is at least as good as current brain scan techniques and far surpasses existing blood tests.”
However, the team say they are still far from practical clinical application since the onset of Alzheimer’s can start 30 years before a patient begins to experience symptoms.
“Progress in developing new therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease has been disappointingly slow. None of the three drugs currently on the market treat the underlying disease,” Masters said in a statement.
In 2017, another team developed a similar test to detect Alzheimer’s disease, proving an accuracy of 86 percent, yet there is no solid test to discover the early onset of dementia.
Researchers says that more testing is needed. The disease affects more than 5 million people in the US each year.
The report was published in Nature International Journal of Science.