Researchers have amazingly discovered and validated a set of ten lipids from blood that reveals mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease within a 2–3 year timeframe with over 90% accuracy. 525 participants who were at least 70 years old gave blood samples throughout a trial period, and investigators tracked which participants developed Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment.

Alzheimer’s disease causes a progressive dementia that currently affects over 35 million individuals worldwide. While there are currently no cures or disease-modifying therapies, early detection could lead to more effective management and even prevention of these conditions, according to newly published research.  This advance notice could allow for more effective early-stage interventions and help researchers develop drugs that would “delay or prevent” these cognitive disorders. “The blood test could also help patients and their families prepare for future healthcare needs,” said study author Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., of Georgetown University Medical Center. Confirmation of the results and further testing are needed before the blood test could be offered to the general public.

The findings appear in Nature Medicine.