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Would you want to know if Alzheimer's was likely?

Dr Doug Brown, the Alzheimer's Society director of research and development, said people "must be given a choice about whether they would want to know, and fully understand the implications" of a test that could predict the onset of the disease.

We asked users of the ITV News Facebook page whether they would want to know in advance if they were likely to develop Alzheimer's.

  • Dawn Kinsley: "One of the worst diseases going. So I would want to know, then I can get together my 'care' plan, have some 'careless' good times while I still remember and can enjoy."
  • Mechelle Thomson: "Only to prepare my family so they would know what to expect. A little education could go a long way."
  • Michael King: "How depressing knowing that you're going to get it in advance and being able to do little about it. I'd rather not know."

Scientists develop blood test to detect dementia

Scientists have developed a new blood test that could detect whether a person will develop dementia within three years.

By looking at 10 specific blood molecules, researchers from America's Georgetown University were able to test whether people would go on to develop cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's Disease - with 90% accuracy.

ITV News spoke to Dr Alison Cook from the Alzheimer's Society:

The study monitored 525 healthy over-70s for five years. During the research, 28 participants went on to develop the conditions. 46 were diagnosed at the start of the study.

Read: Scientists hail breakthrough in 'Alzheimer's blood test'

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Dementia blood test could pose 'ethical' challenges

A blood test that could predict the onset of Alzheimer's poses ethical challenges, an expert from the Alzheimer's Society has said.

A new study published in the journal Nature Medicine found that changes in the blood may predict whether someone will develop Alzheimer's.

A new blood test could predict whether someone will develop dementia, research suggests. Credit: PA Wire

"Having such a test would be an interesting development, but it also throws up ethical considerations," Dr Doug Brown, the charity's director of research and development, said.

"If this does develop in the future people must be given a choice about whether they would want to know, and fully understand the implications.

Dr Brown said there needed to be larger studies with different populations before it could be turned into a blood test for Alzheimer's disease.

Read: Blood test breakthrough in Alzheimer's diagnosis

Alzheimer's blood test will help 'manage the disorder'

A breakthrough in the quest to find a blood test for Alzheimer's will help doctors and patients "manage the disease", one of the researchers has said.

Professor Howard Federoff explained:

Our novel blood test offers the potential to identify people at risk for progressive cognitive decline and can change how patients, their families and treating physicians plan for and manage the disorder.

The preclinical state of the disease offers a window of opportunity for timely disease-modifying intervention.

Biomarkers such as ours that define this asymptomatic period are critical for successful development and application of these therapeutics.

We consider our results a major step toward the commercialisation of a preclinical disease biomarker test.

– Professor Howard Federoff

Read: Blood test breakthrough in Alzheimer's diagnosis

Blood test breakthrough in Alzheimer's diagnosis

Scientists have developed a new blood test which could be used to detect early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and whether a healthy person will develop the disease within the next three years.

Scientists believe changes in the blood are an indicator of the degenerative disease in its earliest stages.

Dementia
One of the study's authors said their findings were "a major step" towards a test which could be useful for a large scale screening. Credit: PA

A new study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, identified 10 molecules in blood could be used to predict with at least 90% accuracy whether people will go on to develop mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Centre in the US examined 525 healthy participants aged 70 and over and monitored them for five years.

During the research 28 participants went on to develop the conditions and 46 were diagnosed at the start of the study.

Read: Health Secretary: Britain must 'raise our game' on dementia

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Son: 'Dementia stripped my mother of her character'

A dementia sufferer's son said the disease "strips someone of their character", as Jeremy Hunt called on Britain to "raise our game" on the illness.

Pauline Murray-White's son has filmed his mother's battle with the illness.

Pauline Murray-White's son filmed his mother's battle with the illness since she was first diagnosed in 2007 and captured the moment she struggled to recognise a picture of her late partner.

James Murray-White said the relationships of sufferers "eventually shatter."

He added: "Dementia just strips someone of their character, their personality, who they and what they knew."

Watch Mr Murray-White talk about his mother's illness in a report from December

Hunt to tackle 'inconsistent' dementia diagnosis speeds

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told ITV's Daybreak he wants to tackle the disparity in dementia diagnosis speeds across the UK and pledged to use some of the £90 million in funding to "even out that inconsistency."

Mr Hunt said the disparity in diagnosis speeds was down to "some parts of the country having more efficient systems in place than others."

Dementia costs the British economy "hundreds of billions" of pounds and will cost the taxpayer even more if it develops unchecked, the Health Secretary added.

Mr Hunt wanted to provide a support network for the families of sufferers and develop "a better public understanding" of the degenerative disease.

Read: Govt 'must tackle poor dementia care standards'

Govt 'must tackle poor dementia care standards'

Labour have warned that the Government must tackle "poor care standards" for dementia sufferers, after the Jeremy Hunt announced a new package of measures to improve diagnosis rates.

Shadow minister for care and older people Liz Kendall said the Government must "do far more to help people struggling to cope with dementia right now".

£2.7 billion has been cut from council care budgets under this Government, hitting the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people with dementia and their families.

This isn't good for them, and is a false economy as an increasing number of elderly people with dementia are ending up in hospitals or care homes when they don't need to.

The Prime Minister cannot credibly claim to show leadership on dementia unless he tackles poor care standards, like the increasing number of 15-minute home visits which are barely enough time to make a cup of tea, let alone help a frail elderly person with dementia get up, washed, dressed and fed.

Read: Jeremy Hunt to learn from France on dementia diagnosis

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