A test can detect dementia nine years before it strikes, say scientists

Photo of author

By Creative Media News

  • New test predicts dementia 9 years early
  • Uses brain imaging in “idle mode”
  • Published results show 80% accuracy

Scientists have created a groundbreaking test that has the potential to predict dementia with 80% accuracy up to nine years before a diagnosis.

The results are expected to result in the availability of a test for Alzheimer’s, the most prevalent form of dementia, within the next few years, according to experts.

The researchers from Queen Mary University of London asserted that their approach was superior to memory tests and brain shrinkage measurements, two frequently employed diagnostic instruments for the condition.

The test employs brain imaging to assess cognitive function while the brain is in “idle mode,” which refers to a state in which the mind is not preoccupied with any particular task.

A test can detect dementia nine years before it strikes, say scientists

According to them, this method has the “potential to fill an enormous clinical gap” by identifying individuals at risk of dementia and treating them before the onset of symptoms.

The team, directed by Professor Charles Marshall, examined brain scans from over 1,100 individuals in the UK Biobank database, which contains genetic and health information for half a million British citizens.

81 of the 103 individuals with dementia underwent brain scans between the ages of five months and 8.5 years before receiving an official diagnosis.

The results indicated that their brain imaging exhibited less connectivity in the idle mode than those who did not develop dementia.

Professor Marshall stated that it would be essential to predict the individuals who will develop dementia in the future to develop treatments that can prevent the irreversible loss of brain cells that cause the symptoms of dementia.

Although we are improving our ability to identify the proteins in the brain that can cause Alzheimer’s disease, numerous individuals continue to exist with these proteins in their brains for decades without experiencing symptoms of dementia.

We anticipate that the brain function measure we have devised will enable us to predict the likelihood of dementia and the timing of its onset more accurately, thereby enabling us to determine whether future treatments may be beneficial.

The results are published in the journal Nature Mental Health.

Professor Andrew Doig, a biochemistry expert at the University of Manchester who was not involved in the study, stated that the results could indicate that an early predictive test for Alzheimer’s is only a “few years” away.

Dementia is a sophisticated condition, and it is improbable that a single, straightforward test will be developed to diagnose it accurately.

However, there is compelling evidence to suggest that within a few years, we will conduct routine dementia testing in middle-aged individuals, utilizing a combination of techniques, including a blood test followed by imaging.

“Unlock your financial potential with free Webull shares in the UK.”

The diagnostic platform could incorporate the MRI connectivity method described here.

This will provide us with a comprehensive comprehension of the individuals who are most likely to benefit from the new generation of dementia drugs.

However, Dr Richard Oakley, the associate director of research and innovation at the Alzheimer’s Society, stated that the research could detect structural changes in the brain before the onset of dementia symptoms. He further noted that additional studies are required to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this MRI scan as a diagnostic tool, which should involve a diverse range of individuals of varying ages and ethnicities.

Tara Spires-Jones, FMedSci, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and president of the British Neuroscience Association, also advised caution.

She stated that although this type of brain scan is beneficial, it is “not widely available, nor is it perfect at predicting who will go on to develop dementia.”

Read More

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content