A team of researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (Missouri, USA) has announced that it can measure blood levels of beta-amyloid, the major component of the deposits found in the brains of Alzheimer's, and use these levels to predict whether protein has accumulated in the brain several years before the symptoms of this neurodegenerative disease occur, Fox News reports.
The researchers say the test they developed is more than 90% accurate and may be available "within a few years."
When blood amyloid levels are combined with two other major Alzheimer's risk factors (age and presence of the genetic variant of APOE4), people with early brain disorders caused by the disease can be identified with 94% accuracy, suggests the study, published in the journal Neurology.
The benefits of this trial will be far greater as new treatment methods are discovered to stop the disease process and prevent dementia. To date, clinical trials with candidates for prescribing preventive drugs have been hampered by the difficulty of finding participants who are already experiencing brain changes with Alzheimer's disease, but who do not yet show cognitive problems.
This blood test, on the other hand, could provide a mechanism for effectively detecting people with early signs of the disease and for them to be able to participate in clinical trials that evaluate drugs designed to prevent Alzheimer's dementia.
The study's lead author, Randall J Bateman, a professor of neurology at Washington University, explains the importance of progress: "We are currently examining people for clinical trials using brain scans, which are time-consuming and costly, and Participant registration takes years ( …) but with a blood test, we could examine thousands of people every month. "