German researchers have developed a blood test for Alzheimer’s disease that could detect early indicators of the disease before the first symptoms appear. The hope is that the test could accurately identify people at high risk for Alzheimer’s and possibly lead to new treatments, according to a paper published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.
A hallmark of Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation of amyloid-β plaques in the brain. The new blood test measures healthy forms of amyloid-β, as well as forms known to cause toxic plaques in the brain. Toxic amyloid-β molecules begin accumulating in the body 15 to 20 years before the onset of Alzheimer’s.
According to the researchers, the blood test was 86 percent accurate at detecting signs of Alzheimer’s an average of eight years before diagnosis in people who had no clinical symptoms.