Scientists have identified a new biomarker for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), one of the causes of dementia.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine say the biomarker could lead to a test for the condition while patients are still alive.
sCJD is an incurable disease and usually leads to death within one year. However, the only way it can currently be diagnosed is through the testing of brain tissues after death.
Scientists found that levels of the iron-transplant protein transferring (Tf) are decreased in the cerebrospinal fluid of those with the condition.
Researcher Dr Neena Singh said: "The decrease in Tf is significant enough to distinguish sCJD from dementia of non-CJD origin with an accuracy of 80 percent."
In other dementia news, scientists from the University of East Anglia in Norfolk found that stroke survivors who have irregular heart rhythm atrial fibrillation could have a higher risk of dementia than those who do not.