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Protein "fingerprint" is Alzheimer's clue

15th December 2006

New research suggests that proteins in the spinal cord and fluid around the brain may provide a link with Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists from Cornell University claim in the Annals of Neurology that some 23 different proteins found in the two areas are associated with the debilitating illness.

Currently there is no definitive test for the disease available for patients, but this could change with this new discovery.

"Typically, Alzheimer's disease is not diagnosed until the disease has already caused some amount of dementia," lead author Erin Finehout remarked.

"Having a chemical test available may allow patients to be diagnosed earlier in the course of the disease."

The presence of the 23 proteins was found to signify Alzheimer's disease in 90 per cent of the cases the scientists investigated.

Currently, doctors put patients through a lengthy series of mental and physical tests to determine the likelihood that a patient has Alzheimer's.