Alzheimer’s disease may be able to be detected even when there are no symptoms of the most common type of dementia, a study has revealed.
Brain scans were taken of more than 300 people in their 70s and 80s who had no memory or thinking problems. They showed that a third of those who took part had significantly high levels of protein deposits in their brains, which can be linked to the degenerative disorder.
Those participants whose brain scans showed high levels of the proteins also had an abnormal amount of metabolic brain chemicals that can be linked to mental decline, according to the study published online in the journal Neurology.
Lead researcher Dr Kejal Kantarci, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US, said: “This relationship between amyloid-beta deposits and these metabolic changes in the brain are evidence that some of these people may be in the earliest stages of the disease.
“More research is needed that follows people over a period of years to determine which of these individuals will actually develop the disease and what the relationship is between the amyloid deposits and the metabolites.”