A group of researchers have discovered a groundbreaking new way to detect Alzheimer's in healthy people who have no symptoms of the disease. The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, used blood samples from 500 people over age 70 to find that those who eventually developed Alzheimer's had certain blood fats two to five years before they showed any signs of the disease.
According to study lead author, Mark Mapstone of the University of Rochester Medical Center, the test is 90-percent accurate and may be available to the general public within two to five years. "There's a lot of work to be done before then," he says. "The next step is to figure out if the test is useful for younger people, too – those in their 60s, 50s, and even 40s." Eventually, Mapstone says, he and his colleagues believe the test will help scientists create new ways to treat the disease in younger people without symptoms.