Alzheimer's Society responds to latest dementia blood biomarker study by University of Warwick

Alzheimer's Society has responded to a new study which suggests a blood test could predict dementia 15 years before diagnosis.

A new study by researchers at the University of Warwick and Fudan University in China suggests that a blood test that looks for changes in certain proteins could predict dementia up to 15 years before diagnosis.

Scientists have so far identified 11 proteins that may predict future dementia. These proteins are known as 'biomarkers', markers for biological changes that happen in people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is the UK's biggest killer

Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research and Innovation at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer. Yet many people live with the condition without ever being diagnosed. This leaves them unable to access vital support, take part in clinical trials, and put care plans in place for the future. We wouldn't accept this for any other condition, so we shouldn’t for dementia.

“This research looked at proteins in the blood of healthy individuals and followed them up 15 years later and found a common set of proteins in those that went on to develop dementia. 

It’s very early days and lots more work is needed but this could lay the groundwork for the early prediction of dementia and teach us more about how to provide an early and accurate diagnosis.

Dementia blood tests for real-world settings

Dr Oakley added: “What we need now are blood tests that work in a real-world setting and that can accurately diagnose dementia when someone is starting to show symptoms. 

This is why we’re working with Alzheimer’s Research UK on the Blood Biomarker Challenge which will revolutionise the way dementia is diagnosed. 

"The project, which is possible thanks to £5m in funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will gather the information needed to introduce a blood test for dementia into UK healthcare systems."

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