A genetic test has been developed which could give a 15-year advance warning that a person is likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The breakthrough in early diagnosis of degeneration of the brain could help those at high risk plan for their future as well as boost scientists’ understanding of the disease. Around one million people in the UK are expected to be suffering from Alzheimer’s by 2025.
Lead researcher Dr Rahul Desikan, of the University of California, San Diego, said the genetic test was able to predict at what age someone could develop Alzheimer’s – called their polygenic hazard score. Those with high scores developed Alzheimer’s ten to 15 years earlier. Dr Desikan said: ‘For any individual, we can calculate your annualized risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. That is, what is your yearly risk for Alzheimer’s disease onset, based on your age and genetic information.’
During trials using a database of 70,000 patients, the risk score was found to predict with 90 per cent accuracy the age at which Alzheimer’s patients had contracted the crippling disease.
Dr James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Preventing the development of dementia symptoms is the holy grail of Alzheimer’s research. This study’s approach was fairly successful, but needs to be tested further.’
© Daily Mail