Researchers at Macquarie and Edith Cowan Universities, together with Anglicare, are working on developing a blood test that could tell whether or not a person will develop Alzheimer’s decades before their symptoms start appearing. This would be a breakthrough for the medical industry as the only current way to diagnose the disease is with an expensive brain scan.
Patients typically experience their first symptoms of Alzheimer’s around the age of 65, by which point it is difficult to prevent it from taking hold. As professor Ralph Martins told 9News, the benefit of this blood test is “[it] will allow doctors to screen the population at large”, detect the disease early, thus start treatment sooner and effectively slow it down.
While the thought of being told you have Alzheimer’s is very daunting, the fact that you at least have the option to obtain the knowledge is ground breaking, particularly for families with a history of Alzheimer’s. Early detection and possible medication could be a matter of life and death for some and while the blood test is still in the works, researchers hope it will be available at GPs within the next five years.