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Alzheimer’s blood test could detect disease up to 15 years before symptons appear

A blood test that can detect Alzheimer’s 10 to 15 years before symptoms appear could be used on all over-50s.

The test measures the level of p-tau217 protein in the blood.

Its results are as correct as the current diagnosis, a study reports.


The P-tau217 protein is an indicator of disease in the brain.

More than one million people are expected to be living with Alzheimer’s or dementia in Britain by 2030.

It is hoped starting treatment early can help patients handle the symptoms.

The blood test could become as routine as other health checks like cholesterol.

David Curtis, honorary professor at UCL Genetics Institute, said:

“When effective treatments to prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease become available it will be essential to be able to identify people who are at high risk before they begin to deteriorate.

“This study shows that a simple blood test might be able to do this by measuring levels of tau protein in the blood which has been phosphorylated in a specific way.

“This could potentially have huge implications.

“Everybody over 50 could be routinely screened every few years, in much the same way as they are now screened for high cholesterol.

“It is possible that currently available treatments for Alzheimer’s disease would work better in those diagnosed early in this way.”

The research was carried out at the University of Gothenburg.

Alzheimer’s costs the country £34.7 billion annually.

It is the leading cause of death.



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