London - A new blood test may make it possible to predict the onset of Alzheimer's disease, British scientists say.
In a paper published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia, the researchers said they had identified 10 blood proteins which are present in 87 per cent of patients who go on to develop the disease within a year.
There are currently no treatments which can halt or reverse Alzheimer's.
"Alzheimer's begins to affect the brain many years before patients are diagnosed with the disease," said Simon Lovestone, a professor at King's College London and one of the test's inventors.
"Many of our drug trials fail because, by the time patients are given the drugs, the brain has already been too severely affected," he continued.
In their research, Lovestone and his colleagues analysed blood samples from 476 Alzheimer's sufferers, 220 people with "mild cognitive impairment" and 450 healthy elderly people.
They then compared 26 proteins previously associated with the disease.
The scientists are now trying to improve the accuracy of the test, and, working together with biotech company Proteome Sciences, hope to be able to develop a marketable version with two to five years.