Researchers have identified a new method of testing patients' potential risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Scientists from University College London (UCL) have found that a combination of spinal fluid testing and MRI scans can be used to monitor brain shrinkage and reduced rates of cerebrospinal fluid amyloid among those at risk.
People displaying both of these symptoms are likely to be at increased risk of developing dementia, although a clinical follow-up to the current study is required to ascertain this.
Dr Jonathan Schott from UCL's Dementia Research Centre said: "These results add to a growing body of work suggesting that Alzheimer's disease starts many years before the onset of symptoms."
It is hoped that this approach can be utilised in treating the disease far earlier than is currently possible.
This comes after a University of Leeds study last month isolated a specific protein in the brain that may play a crucial role in the degenerative effects of Alzheimer's.