Australian scientists have developed advanced imaging and blood screening techniques that will contribute to early detection of Alzheimer's.
Researchers with the Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing (AIBL) reported their findings at the International Conference on Alzheimer's disease in Hawaii recently.
The AIBL effort was part of Preventative Health National Research Flagship on Alzheimer's prevention research initiated by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
The research combined advanced neuroimaging, cognitive performance studies, blood screening and lifestyle studies to start identifying early indicators of the disease said Professor Richard Head, director of CSIRO's Flagship.
"The imaging component alone has potentially brought forward the detection of Alzheimer's disease by 18 months," he said.
He noted many of the major contributions presented at the Hawaii conference were only made possible through the national collaboration of scientists from a wide range of disciplines across Australia.
"This collaboration has provided critical expertise and capability at a size necessary to enable us to understand early identification of the disease and the contributing factors to its progression," Professor Head said.
"The advancement in our research would not have been as strong or as rapid were it not for the broad range of expertise brought together by this collaboration."
The level of recognition from the world's leading forum on dementia research confirms the success of the initiative, he said.
About 250,000 Australians currently have Alzheimer's disease, but numbers are anticipated to rise to 1.3 million in the next 40 years if there were not significant breakthroughs in prevention and treatment of the disease.