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'Holy grail' test for Alzheimer's on the horizon

Published on 07/07/2010
A simple blood test that could diagnose Alzheimer's years before symptoms are apparent is being developed.

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London have discovered that sufferers of the disease have increased levels of a protein called clusterin.

This can be detected in the blood as many as ten years before patients start showing symptoms.

According to the study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, an increase in clusterin leads to shrinkage of the brain causing memory loss and dementia.

Current diagnostic techniques for Alzheimer's involve memory tests and expensive brain scans, but conclusive proof usually does not come until an autopsy is done on the brain.

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "A simple blood test for detecting Alzheimer's has long been the Holy Grail for dementia researchers and these findings edge us closer in the search."

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and affects around 417,000 people in the UK.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

Categories:  Medical
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