However, catching it early, before becoming overwhelmed by debilitating symptoms, may allow treatment to actually slow the disease's progression. Incredibly, a team of European scientists have come up with a new type of blood test, that is able to identify Alzheimer’s years earlier.
Here's how it works: Up to 20 years before Alzheimer's symptoms appear, structural changes begin to take place in your brain. Amyloid plaque tends to build up in the brain, yet the only way to detect it is to have an expensive scan or an invasive test undertaken. Unfortunately, this is only something that usually happens after a patient has exhibited severe symptoms.
Dr. Gerwert then tested 65 archived blood samples of patients who would go on to develop Alzheimer's years later. To improve the procedure's accuracy, he also screened samples from an additional 809 healthy adults. The test was found to be able to correctly identify people with Alzheimer's over 70% of the time. Incredibly, it was found that it could do so even up to 8 years before a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Before being available for use on the general public, this blood test will first have to undergo larger scale testing. The team's research will also be used to help test an early blood test for Parkinson’s Disease, too.