A new blood test could be used to detect Alzheimer's disease years before symptoms emerge, researchers have said.
The new technology, details of which have been published in journal Cell, uses synthetic molecules to identify antibodies specific to Alzheimer's.
It could in future be used to detect other conditions such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and lupus, researchers claim.
"One of the great challenges in treating patients with Alzheimer's disease is that once symptoms appear, it's too late. You can't un-ring the bell," said author Dr Dwight German.
"If we can find a way to detect the disease in its earliest stages - before cognitive impairment begins - we might be able to stop it in its tracks by developing new treatment strategies," he added.
This comes after a poll by YouGov found that more Brits are worried about being diagnosed with dementia than are afraid of developing cancer or dying, yet 12 times as much funding is spent on cancer each year.