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£125 test 'can predict Alzheimer's risk'

£125 test 'can predict Alzheimer's risk'
3rd December 2014

A new test went on sale yesterday (December 2nd) that can reportedly predict whether or not you will get Alzheimer's disease, along with other conditions.

Costing just £125, it has been developed by a company that Google is backing and could be revolutionary in terms of fighting the neurodegenerative disorder. 

What's more, it could also show if you are at risk of Parkinson's disease, cancer or even baldness.

This test has already been on sale across the pond and is sold by 23andMe - a firm that is part-funded by Google. 

All patients need to do is spit into a tube and send it to 23andMe. Experts will analyse 100 pieces of genetic information to see what the likelihood is of developing certain diseases. Results will be posted back within four to six weeks.

Chief executive of the company Anne Wojcicki said the goal "is to ensure that individuals can personally access, understand and benefit from the human genome".

A spokesman from the Department of Health said it was in favour of initiatives that "help to raise awareness of genetics" and encourage individuals to take more interest in their health - but he urged people "to think carefully before using private genomic services, as no test is 100 per cent reliable".

There has been a lot of controversy over this method of testing, but professor of evolutionary genetics at University College London Mark Thomas said: "For better or worse, direct-to-the-consumer genetic testing companies are here to stay. One could argue the rights and wrongs of such companies existing, but I suspect that ship has sailed."

This test could prove useful in the fight against Alzheimer's, as the earlier it is known that someone could develop the condition, the more that can be done. Often, the problem is that diagnosis comes too late. 

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes