An early test for Alzheimer's Disease should be widely available in Ireland within five years, according to an Irish team that has led an international research project into the early diagnosis of the condition.

Professor Harald Hampel, who works at Tallaght hospital and the Trinity College Dublin Institute of Neuroscience, says the test his team has developed using cerebrospinal fluid is 80% accurate, and can identify people with the disease years before they show any symptoms.

He said that early detection would help identify patients who will benefit most from new treatments, which are being developed to slow down or prevent the disease, for which there is no cure.

It will also help patients who are diagnosed early to plan for the future, along with their families.

The test still has to undergo further validation but the team hope that within five years, the diagnostic system will be provided from the TCD centre to the Irish health service.

Over 30,000 people in Ireland are living with Alzheimer's Disease and the number is expected to increase significantly over the next two decades, due to the ageing population.