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Testing for Alzheimer’s 10 years before symptoms appear

A group of scientists from the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona have made a discovery that could lead to a test able to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease 10 years before any symptoms manifest in the individual.

The researchers, led by Professor Ramon Trullas, found that levels of a form of DNA in the spinal fluid is reduced in those who go on to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. The team hopes that this discovery will lead to a new diagnostic test that will enable patients to receive drugs that can prevent the build-up of toxic material in brain cells that is understood to be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Trullas explained: “If our initial findings can be replicated by other laboratories, the results will change the way we currently think about the causes of Alzheimer’s.

“This discovery may enable us to search for more effective treatments that can be administered during the preclinical stage.”

Currently 800,000 people are experiencing dementia, with a large proportion requiring some form of dementia care. Up to 60,000 deaths each year are attributed to Alzheimer’s disease.

The results of the study have been published in the Annals of Neurology journal.