24 Dec 2010

New test investigated for Alzheimer's disease

9:30 am on 24 December 2010

Scientists in Britain say they may have found a way to check for Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, years before symptoms appear.

Currently there is no single test, or cure, for a condition that affects more than 20 million people worldwide.

When the scientists did a lumbar puncture test combined with a brain scan on 100 volunteers, the BBC reports, they noticed changes that might identify the test subjects as potential sufferers.

Alzheimer's Society director of research Clive Ballard says the ideal time to treat the disease is before the symptoms emerge.

He says if a group of individuals in that category can be identified through clinical trials, scientists can then investigate whether drugs are able to positively impact on the disease process at that stage.