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Blood Test can Detect Alzheimer's Disease in Early Stages

Mar 12, 2013 08:28 AM EDT

Researchers from Britain have developed a kind of blood test that can help spot Alzheimer's disease in the early stages, BBC reports.

The test was developed by researchers from University of Nottingham. The blood test works by detecting a certain combination of markers that are found in people with the disease.

According to National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living. In most people with Alzheimer's, symptoms first appear after the age 60.

The blood test looks at certain proteins that have been associated with Alzheimer's disease like amyloid and APOE, reports BBC. In addition, the blood test also looks for some markers for inflammation that can help predict the disease.

"Our findings are exciting because they show that it is technically possible to distinguish between healthy people and those with Alzheimer's using a blood test," said Prof Kevin Morgan from the University of Nottingham, reports BBC. "As blood tests are a fast and easy way of aiding diagnosis, we are really encouraged by these findings and the potential they hold for the future."

Morgan added that there are many studies that need to be done before the blood test can be used to detect the disease, and that it may take more than a decade before it is actually used in patients.

According to Alzheimer's disease Facts and Figures, an estimated 5.4 million people have Alzheimer's disease, meaning that one out of every eight older Americans suffers from the condition.

Another study on Alzheimer's disease, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, shows that change in sleep patterns could serve as a sign for the disease.

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