A study led by Lund University in Sweden has found that a simple blood test can identify Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome with a high degree of certainty.

Recently published in JAMA Neurology, the study proved the ability of a blood test to make a correct diagnosis without the need for invasive procedures.

Conducted on 300 Down syndrome participants, the study found that 40% had early-stage Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

The study collected blood samples and PET scan results from individuals with the condition to examine if the biomarker may also be used as a diagnostic marker for people with Down syndrome.

Lund University researcher Shorena Janelidze said: “Down syndrome produces more of the APP protein and thus results in a significantly increased risk of amyloid aggregates, which in turn lead to tau aggregates.

“Our results show that P-tau217 works just as well as a blood marker of Alzheimer’s disease for persons with Down syndrome as it does for others and those other blood markers are not needed, Ptau217 is sufficient.

“The next step is to evaluate the performance of this biomarker in clinical practice and use it to improve clinical trials evaluating drugs targeting Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome.”

According to the university, the study is currently the only relatively sizable study on Alzheimer’s condition worldwide.

It compared a blood biomarker with the results of PET imaging to determine whether people with Down syndrome have significant protein accumulations in the brain that characterise Alzheimer’s disease.