BBC News online, 08/07/14, James Gallagher:
Scientists have made a ‘major step forward’ in developing a blood test to predict the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Research in more than 1,000 people has identified a set of proteins in the blood which can predict the start of the dementia with 87% accuracy. The findings, published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, will be used to improve trials for new dementia drugs.
The research group, which combines university and industry scientists, looked for differences in the blood of 452 healthy people, 220 with mild cognitive impairment and 476 with Alzheimer's disease. They were able to tell with 87% accuracy which patients with mild cognitive impairment would go on to develop Alzheimer's disease in the next year. ‘We want to be able to identify people to enter clinical trials earlier than they currently do and that's really what we've been aiming at,’ said lead researcher Professor Simon Lovestone from the University of Oxford. However, he said it may find a place in doctors' surgeries in the future. ‘As long as there is no treatment one can question the value of a test, but people come to the clinic because they want to know what's happening to them and I currently can't tell them.’