British scientists have identified a set of proteins in the blood which can predict, with 87 per cent accuracy, the start of dementia. Symptoms, apparently, take about ten years to appear after the actual start of Alzheimer’s.
Having lived with someone with this horrendous condition, I am certain that I wouldn’t want to take a blood test that would show that in a decade I would develop dementia unless, obviously, I could have it reversed. Ignorance is bliss…
But research can’t move forward without volunteers. Between 2002 and 2012, 99.6 per cent of trials aimed at preventing or reversing the disease flopped because, doctors believe, patients were treated too late, when the disease was well under way. So perhaps we should all volunteer if we want to beat Alzheimer’s: 44 million people around the world have dementia today and it is set to soar to 76 million by 2030. Oh dear, I wish I wasn’t such a coward.
This is an extract from Liz Anderson’s ‘Farewell Notebook’ in this week’s magazine. Click here to subscribe.