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Scientists at Oxford University and Kings College London are developing a blood test that can predict the onset of Alzheimer's, which would allow drugs targeting the disease to be used before the onset of symptoms.
After a decade of research, the scientists believe that the test can predict, with accuracy, the onset of Alzheimer's within a year. Their test centers on ten proteins which change when the disease is imminent. The blood test may be available in as little as two years in Europe and perhaps as soon in the United States.
Current treatments for Alzheimer's are few and often not very effective. Clinical trials often show these drugs to be of only marginal benefit. Many medical professionals in the field believe that earlier use of some of these drugs may prove them to be more useful in delaying the onset or even preventing the debilitating disease.
The scientists who began the research into this blood test were of the opinion that by the time symptoms manifest to the degree that they are diagnosed, the "cascade" or symptoms has already occurred and is irreversible. The test has been proven in clinical trials to be 87 percent accurate in predicting the onset of Alzheimer's.
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