US researchers believe they may have made a breakthrough in the treatment of memory loss in dementia sufferers.
Scientists at the University of Minnesota Medical School claim that memory loss may not be caused by plaques and tangles of proteins in the brain, as has been previously thought.
The researchers state that the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer's may now take place at a much earlier stage.
The findings, published in the Nature journal, claim that tests on mice have unearthed a type of amyloid-beta protein that is separate from plaques, which is believed to induce memory loss.
"We could be on to the ability to diagnose patients who are at risk for Alzheimer's long before they get it, and we could be on to a very effective way of preventing Alzheimer's disease," lead author Dr Karen Hsiao Ashe told Forbes.
If the findings in mice are translated to humans, it is thought a new treatment could be with us within the next ten years.