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Test for Early Alzheimer's Moving Forward: Report

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If all goes according to plan, the first test to detect Alzheimer's disease in its early stages could be available within 12 to 18 months, according to U.S. researchers. They said early diagnosis could help slow progression of the disease.

The test, which detects abnormal function of a protein involved in memory storage, has been tested on hundreds of patients and proved highly accurate, but the scientists want to use it on thousands more people before the test is marketed, the Associated Press reported.

"This may be a way of monitoring how effective a treatment is for Alzheimer's disease," said Dr Daniel Alkon, scientific director of the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute.

The West Virginia University-based institute on Wednesday was to announce a contract with Inverness Medical Innovations Inc. of Massachusetts, under which Inverness would bankroll development of the new diagnostic test for at least three years, the AP reported.

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