Researchers have developed a new blood test that can predict with 90% accuracy whether a healthy person will develop Alzheimer's or cognitive decline within 3 years. They report how they identified and validated the 10 biomarkers that form the basis of the test in a study published in Nature Medicine.
Study leader Howard J. Federoff, a professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, says:
"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."
Rates of Alzheimer's disease - a condition that gradually clogs up and kills brain cells and leads to memory loss and mental decline - are rising rapidly around the globe. The disease mostly affects older people, although there are rare forms that can start earlier in life.
In 2010, there were 35 million people with Alzheimer's disease worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts this number will double every 20 years, rising to 115 million by 2050.