Tweet Facebook Mail Not everyone would want to know whether they're going to get Alzheimer’s. But researchers at Macquarie and Edith Cowan Universities in conjunction with Anglicare are working on a blood test that could tell a person whether they're going to develop the disease decades before they start showing symptoms.Currently the only way to diagnose Alzheimer’s is to undergo a costly brain scan.Professor Ralph Martins said a blood test will allow doctors to screen the population at large.Patients typically experience the first signs of Alzheimer’s when they’re around 65 years old by which point the disease has already taken hold. The blood test could tell a person whether they're going to develop the disease. (Getty Images)The benefit of early detection is patients can start treatment sooner, effectively slowing down the disease.A study of around 100 people found those at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s have elevated levels of the protein Ferritin in their blood. So doctors would test for that in patients as young as 40."These are people before they have any symptoms whatsoever. They could get the disease 20 years later" Prof Martins said.RelatedRush to publish COVID-19 research saw errors in top medical journals triple, study findsNew health alert in South Australia after positive COVID-19 case breached quarantineTwo new coronavirus cases reported in South AustraliaPeter Edmonds put his hand up for the study after his wife Patricia was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had to be put in care."I can assure you it was a long journey and you're not really prepared for it," Mr Edmonds said.And while it's a daunting thought to be told what your future health holds Mr Edmonds said he thinks “if (the test) is done with the knowledge there's possible drugs to slow the disease down I think it's a very good idea”.Researchers hope the blood test will be available at GPs within five years.
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