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Progress on Alzheimer's risk blood test

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Alzheimer’s could be identified more than a decade before memory and thinking problems start having an effect on people’s minds, latest research suggests.

Researchers have found that there may be a link between the plaque levels in the brain and the chances of developing Alzheimer’s. Scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia now believe they have developed a blood test that can measure such plaque levels.

The proteins begin to gather in the brain around 10 years before the effects of Alzheimer’s start to display themselves and the experimental procedure is able to accurately detect their presence.

The trial, which involved more than 1,100 patients, will now be expanded into large-scale studies in order to verify the findings and, if they prove successful, the test could be used as a simple and cheap way of identifying which people suffering from memory problems are most vulnerable to developing Alzheimer’s.

The sticky protein, called beta amyloid, can already be identified in the brain but only by expensive brain scans that are not suitable for routine screening programmes.

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