If someone close to you has suffered from Alzheimer’s before, you’ll know that the devastating disease has usually always progressed to a severe stage by the time people are diagnosed.
However scientists have now developed a brain scan that is able to spot dementia 15 years before symptoms appear.
In fact, early detection is being encouraged as the scientists say more effective therapies for preventing its onset can be found.
The scan can find and measure the proteins that clump in the brain which cause the memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s.
It’s proteins called amyloid and tau that form into tangles for at least a decade before actual symptoms appear.
The Express reports that The University College London team have their hands on cutting-edge positive emission tomography (PET) scans to locate the clumps.
The scans use radioactive tracers and measure the sizes of the clumps, allowing doctors to get an insight into the disease’s progress and allow them to prepare and mange the onset more effectively.
The general consensus is hope for a treatment of Alzheimer’s to be developed within the next 15 years.
Professor Nick Fox of UCL’s Demential Research Centre said “We think amyloid and tau build up for 10-15 years before we see the first sings of forgetfulness. These things are gradually accumulating under the surface. To all intents and purposes we are fine. There will be a time when we won’t have to wait until there is significant brain destruction. Provided we find a therapy – and I believe we will – it gives us a window of opportunity to act.”