A joint research conducted by Kings College London and the Medical Research Council found that the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease can be detected a decade before symptoms develop. By using a simple blood test, the research show that the blood level of a protein called MAPKAPK5 was lower in individuals whose cognitive ability declined over a ten year period. A sample from 100 volunteers (sets of twins) was obtained and their progress was followed for a decade and the researchers made the discovery that as the protein declined, so did their mental abilities.
Since Alzheimer’s disease can be detected 10 years earlier, researchers are promoting that those who are at risk can choose to change their lifestyle. Current evidences suggest that regular exercise, healthy food intake, and stimulating the brain can prevent the onset of dementia. According to the lead author Dr. Steven Kiddle of MRC’s Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’ s College in London, the prevention of the disease is likely to be more effective than trying to reverse it. Although there is no medication or known treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers are hopeful that one day there will be, and this early test could stop the development of the condition.
Co-author geriatrician and senior lecturer Dr. Claire Steves, in Twin Research at King’s College in London added that the research has the potential to benefit the lives of those who don’t have symptoms of Alzheimer’s but are at the risk of developing the disease. This study is beneficial for those who have a family history of Alzheimer’s and dementia as it will allow people to put their affairs in order via long term planning.