Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis in Missouri believe the test can identify changes in the brain suggestive of Alzheimer’s with 94% accuracy, while being much cheaper and simpler than a PET brain scan.

The results of the study, which was published in the journal Neurology on Thursday, represent a potential breakthrough in the fight against the disease.

“Right now we screen people for clinical trials with brain scans, which is time-consuming and expensive, and enrolling participants takes years,” said the senior author, Randall Bateman, a leading professor of neurology.