LONDON (Reuters) - High levels of a blood protein called clusterin are linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease, scientists said on Monday -- a finding which could pave the way for doctors to detect the disease before it takes hold.
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London said that while doctors are around 5 years away from being able to use the discovery for a test to identify future Alzheimer's sufferers, it was a big step along the way.
This research team used a technique called proteomics, which analyses proteins, to conduct two "discovery phase" studies in 95 patients and found that clusterin appeared to be linked with the early signs of Alzheimer's. The findings were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry journal.
"We found that this clusterin protein was increased in blood as much as 10 years before people had the signs of Alzheimer's disease in their brains," said Simon Lovestone, who led the study. "And even when they had signs of disease in their brains, they still had no clinical signs of the disorder -- so this suggests that this is a really, really early change that occurs in people who are going to get the disease."
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