New tests can detect Alzheimer`s years before symptoms appear

London: A combination of brain scans and memory tests can spot the earliest stages of Alzheimer`s, helping those who are at a risk of developing the condition.

The tests will help treat potential sufferers from few remedies are available to minimise its devastating effects, the Daily Express reported.

Experts believe that the key to tackle Alzheimer`s, which is an incurable condition, lies in early detection, when treatment is more effective.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School led by Dr Dorene Rentz, associate professor of neurology, gave two different types of scan to 129 people over 65 with no cognitive problems and carried out a series of tests of memory and thinking skills.

One of the scans was designed to measure glucose metabolism, a marker of brain activity, while the second scan was used to detect how much amyloid - a highly toxic protein that builds up in the brain during Alzheimer`s - was present.

The researchers found that those with worse memory scores had more amyloid and less brain activity, thus suggesting that these people may be at a higher risk of developing the disease.

The research is due to be presented at a conference in Boston.