The Alzheimer's Association International Conference provided some very hopeful news for the future diagnosis of the disease which currently affects 5.8 million Americans.

Researchers announced that a new blood test was able to detect Alzheimer's just as well as more expensive options like spinal taps and brain scans. It could also differentiate between Alzheimer's and other types of dementia in at least 89 percent of cases. Definitely exciting news when you consider how much easier, and less expensive, the test would be for patients.

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Details on a study conducted at a variety of locations were revealed on Tuesday. The study showed a blood test could not only diagnose the disease but also picked up signs of it as much as two decades before symptoms began.

Randall Bateman, an Alzheimer's researcher who is a neurology professor at Washington University, told USA Today

If we can prevent those symptoms from coming on, that’s the reason we’re so excited by these kinds of biomarkers. And we think in the right combination, these blood biomarkers will also tell us about when someone will become sick. That’s going to be very useful in the clinic when we triage these patients .

It could be years before a blood test will be a viable option, but as research continues on that end, drug companies will most certainly continue developing drugs that can slow, or even stop Alzheimer's symptoms. Combined, the two could literally be life-changers for those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and those who love them.

You can read more about the study HERE.