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'Tackling physical inactivity' could battle Alzheimer's

Professor Carol Brayne, from Cambridge University's Institute of Public Health, said Alzheimer's could be tackled simply by becoming more active:

Simply tackling physical inactivity, for example, will reduce levels of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, and prevent some people from developing dementia as well as allowing a healthier old age in general - it's a win-win situation.

– Professor Carol Brayne.

More: Third of Alzheimer's cases potentially 'preventable'

'Cheap' Alzheimer's eye tests an 'important step'

The development of a quick, cheap, non-invasive test to detect Alzheimer's would be an important step in helping people to receive an early diagnosis, the head of science at Alzheimer's Research UK has said, after new research suggests that regular eye tests could help detection.

It is difficult to diagnose Alzheimer's disease accurately and, in many cases, by the time the symptoms have developed, damage has already been going on in the brain for a number of years.

It is too soon to determine whether these types of tests will be useful for diagnosis of dementia and we would need to see the results of larger trials before drawing any firmer conclusions.

– Dr Simon Ridley, Alzheimer's Research UK

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Eye tests an 'initial screen' for Alzheimer's detection

Regular eye tests could "complement" existing procedures as an initial screen in diagnosing Alzheimer's, the Australian science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has said. Shaun Frost, who led one of the studies, added:

If further research shows that our initial findings are correct, it could potentially be delivered as part of an individual's regular eye check-up.

The high resolution level of our images could also allow accurate monitoring of individual retinal plaques as a possible method to follow progression and response to therapy.

Read: New research suggests 'eye tests could detect Alzheimer's'

Regular eye tests 'could detect early-stage Alzheimer's'

Regular eye tests could in future be used to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer's, new research suggests.

Early trials of two different techniques show that a key Alzheimer's biomarker can be identified in the retina and lens of the eye.

Further work could see such tests used as a first step in identifying individuals with Alzheimer's. Credit: PA

Both methods were able to distinguish between probable Alzheimer's patients and healthy volunteers with a high level of accuracy.

Although the research is still at an early stage, further work could see such tests used as a first step in identifying individuals with Alzheimer's. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's is essential to developing effective treatments that do more than alleviate the condition's symptoms.

Read: Alzheimer's blood test 'could be available in two years'

Alzheimer's blood test 'based on 10 biomarker proteins'

A new blood test based on 10 "biomarker" proteins will make it possible to test new treatments at an early stage of Alzheimer's progression.

Writing in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, researchers from King's College London describe how they investigated 26 proteins previously associated with Alzheimer's disease.

File photo of two older women in chairs.
Alzheimer's blood test 'could be available in two years,' scientists say. Credit: PA Wire

They analysed blood samples from 476 confirmed Alzheimer's patients, 220 individuals with "mild cognitive impairment" (MCI) who experienced occasional memory loss, and 450 healthy elderly people.

In the vast majority of cases, memory lapses do not lead to Alzheimer's. But the researchers identified 10 blood proteins that appeared in 87% of MCI patients diagnosed with the disease within a year.

Alzheimer's blood test 'could be available in two years'

A blood test that can predict the onset of Alzheimer's disease before recognisable symptoms appear could become available in two years, scientists have said.

The test, likely to cost £100 - £300, can show with almost 90% accuracy which individuals suffering from mild memory loss are going to develop Alzheimer's within a year, researchers suggest.

File photo of an old woman.
The blood test could become available in two years, according to scientists. Credit: PA Wire

Trials of drugs to halt or reverse Alzheimer's have all ended in failure so far. Therapies exist that can reduce its symptoms, but they only work for a short period of time and are not very effective.

Scientists believe a major reason for the lack of progress is that trial patients are being recruited too late, when their disease is already far advanced.

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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'

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

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