A social worker shows a photo of Britain's Prince Charles to a woman during a memory activity at the Cuidem La Memoria elderly home, which specializes in Alzheimer patients, in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images

An international team of researchers has found that a newly developed blood test is highly accurate in aiding the detection of Alzheimer's disease.

Why it matters: The test could distinguish Alzheimer's from other conditions, and may be able to detect changes in the brain 20 years before dementia symptoms occur, per the study findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Tuesday.

What they're saying: Current assessment tools, such as PET scans and spinal fluid analyses, are invasive and costly. Maria Carrillo, chief science officer at the Alzheimer's Association said in a statement that this more affordable and widely available test would be "game changing for individuals, families and our healthcare system."

  • Oskar Hansson, from Lund University in Sweden, said that once verified and confirmed, the test could open up the possibility of early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s before the dementia stage.

What they did: The test measures a form of the tau protein, tangled bundles of fibers that spread in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, in more than 1,400 cases involving groups from the U.S., Sweden and Colombia.

Yes, but: Scientists are still trying to determine the role of tau proteins in Alzheimer's and so more long-term testing is needed on a larger scale, such as clinical trials.

The bottom line: Carrillo noted that while these early results, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Tuesday, are encouraging, "we do not yet know how long it will be until these tests are available for clinical use."

Go deeper: Chasing the elusive causes of Alzheimer's disease

Go deeper

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month Putin mandates face masks.

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

1 hour ago - World

Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!