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Test will diagnose Alzheimer's before onset of symptoms

SCIENTISTS are a step closer to finding a blood test for Alzheimer's disease to diagnose people before they show symptoms.

In what has been hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against the debilitating disease, researchers found that levels of two types of protein found in the blood can indicate an increased risk of having the disease. Tests found that an increased level of these proteins was present only with patients suffering from the condition.

The discovery could prove important in the search to develop a blood test to diagnose the likelihood of developing the disease in later life.

Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative type of dementia that usually strikes in old age. The disease can severely effect the short and long-term memory of sufferers.

The study, based at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, is due to be published today in the journal Brain. It compared protein levels in the blood of Alzheimer's sufferers and healthy older people. A cutting-edge process used by the team called proteomics found that the Alzheimer's patients tested had greater levels of certain proteins in their blood than the other people tested.

Professor Simon Lovestone, from the Institute of Psychiatry, who lead the project, said the results were encouraging.

30-Oct-06


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