Simple and cheap blood test identifies dementia early

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Australian and Japanese scientists have developed a simple blood test to help identify dementia.

The test identifies high levels of the protein, amyloid-β, a key cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers hope that the test can be used to help identify Alzheimer’s early, partly in the hope of halting or preventing the disease. They also aim to use test results to recruit potential case studies prior to the irreversible brain damage that can be caused by the protein.

Scientists have long been searching for a way to beat dementia, and this test is seen as a solution to health researchers finding a way to manage Alzheimer’s and, hopefully, a cure.

Until now, the only ways to test for high amyloid-β levels were using positron-emission tomography to map the brain, by measuring the protein in spinal cord fluid or during an autopsy.

This test is the first to reliably identify people with the early stages of dementia. Most trials are conducted on people with existing symptoms of the disease. It is hoped that the test will lead to more reliable and effective medical trials.


Would you like to know if you have the early stages of Alzheimer’s? How far would you go to know?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 12
  1. 0

    One can only imagine what will happen if one takes one of these tests and tries to get life or travel insurance after getting a bad result. Sorry folks you either self insure or your bucket list items will never be ticked off.

  2. 0

    I don’t want to know, prefer to wait until there is a cure

    • 0

      I agree Sundays, it’s nice to know if one has an illness where there is a cure but I can’t imagine living for years with the knowledge that I am going to get a terminal illness where there is no cure. I would rather live in blissful ignorance.

  3. 0

    Of course it would be good to have a “simple blood test” to find out such possible issues dwn the track.
    What’s also equally important is strong research & publicity for PREVENTION actions by the Govt & Dementia Australia, not just for cures which drug companies would be glad to fund.

  4. 0

    Good start. Now cure it.

  5. 0

    When can I have the test?


  6. 0

    These tests are just so they can give you drugs earlier. The cure is through eating fruit and vegetables and lots of them. Grow your own for optimum nutrition. And of course exercise for the body and brain. And get all the chemicals out of your life as much as possible, that is your detergents, perfumes, shampoos, deodorants and air sprays (highly toxic), and don’t use pesticides. These all contribute to an unhealthy immune system which ultimately causes disease. Also get aluminum out, whether it is in pots, foil or toothpaste.

  7. 0

    My mother has had symptoms for 2 years and father won’t take her to a doctor because of the stigma & giving it a name. Another relative with the condition had many tests, saw doctors, etc. was out of pocket for some expenses and in the end there was nothing – not even a tablet. So father thinks “why bother”.

  8. 0

    There was really excessive hype surrounding this research. The media should have asked the researchers just which preventive treatments they envisaged using in prospective trials of people who have had the test. None at all have been mentioned, and it sounds as though it will be 10-20 years before any such trials can be analysed. For all we know, the first treatments to be tried might not work anyway. The media need to be much more science-savvy, and to pose the searching follow-on questions. I doubt that anyone will be rushing their GP to find out if they are going to get Alzheimers in a decade or two.

  9. 0

    Well, they’re not saying they’ll report it to the Government!

  10. 0

    There is no evidence that amyloid CAUSE dementia. While a high level of amyloid has been found in the brain of people who have died with dementia, we don’t know what percentage of people have a high level of amyloid but display no symptoms of dementia. While research is ongoing into the link, there are at least two schools of thought and a long way, if there is a link, from a cure.



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