Scientists develop genetic tests to predict the age of a patient with Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at the University of California team up with health professionals at the University of Glasgow to Predict the age of patients. They claim that genetic tests are good to predict how many years a patient will survive. Researchers aim to publish the findings in the journal “PLOS Medicine” by the end of this week. One million people in the US suffer from Alzheimer’s. Scientists say it is important to diagnose the disease at an early stage. DNA tests predict a person’s risk of developing the illness.

Researchers conducted a survey to study genes of 20 healthy adults. The result suggests that 12 out of 20 individuals could develop Alzheimer's disease sooner than the others as they have a weak immune system. Past estimates reveal that a quarter of people stricken by the disease have a family history of the illness. A specific gene, ApoE, causes the disease.

The future of this study

Dr. Rahul Desikan, head of the research team, says that it is important to develop genetic tests to predict diseases. Currently, more than 30,000 patients with Alzheimer’s disease in have poor respiratory and immune systems. It is very easy to predict their age and health status based on the results of genetic tests.

Doctor Desikan studies both DNA and RNA of a person with Alzheimer's disease. The test is based on 33 genetic variations. Only two genetic variations, named as APOE variants, play a role in triggering Alzheimer’s. The other 31 play a minor role but combine to increase the risk of illness.

Patterns of genes

Rahul will develop a technique to study patterns of genes in patients with Alzheimer's.

He aims to predict the progression of the illness at an early stage. There is no known treatment for Alzheimer's, but health experts say exercises prevent the onset of symptoms. Professor Anders Dale at the UC San Diego School of Medicine says that if Rahul succeeds in his experiments, it will be a breakthrough in biomedical research.

The only limitation of the study is that genetic tests are expensive and their results are not accurate. Doctor Rahul claims that he will soon introduce improved genetic tests that guarantee accurate results.