Test spots dementia ten years early

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PEOPLE with mild cognitive impairment who are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s could be spotted ten years before the disease develops, according to a new study.

The research, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, took place at Lund University, Sweden, involving 140 people with the condition.

Spinal fluid was tested for levels of Alzheimer’s proteins amyloid-beta and tau. It found that over 90 per cent of participants who had low levels of amyloid-beta and high levels of tau went on to develop Alzheimer’s within ten years.

Dr Anne Corbett, research manager at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Spotting these signs early, through tests such as spinal taps, could help us improve the unacceptably low levels of early diagnosis.

“This research provides a promising avenue for further investigation. One in three people will die with dementia, yet dementia research is drastically underfunded.”