WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Researchers from Georgetown University say they have developed a blood test that can predict if a healthy person will develop Alzheimer’s disease or mild dementia.

The study claims that the blood test “can predict with 90 percent accuracy” if a person will develop these debilitating diseases.

“Our novel blood test offers the potential to identify people at risk for progressive cognitive decline and can change how patients, their families and treating physicians plan for and manage the disorder,” Dr. Howard Federoff, the study’s author and executive vice president of health sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center, said in a statement.

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The test reveals “changes in the breakdown of neural cell membranes resulting in 10 identifiable lipids.”. The study shows that two of the 10 identifiable lipids “have strong links to the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s.”

“We consider our results a major step toward the commercialization of a preclinical disease biomarker test that could be useful for large-scale screening to identify at-risk individuals,” Federoff said. “We’re intending to design a clinical trial where we’ll use this panel to identify people at high risk for Alzheimer’s to test a therapeutic agent that might delay or prevent the emergence of the disease.”

Federoff added: “The lipid panel was able to distinguish with 90 percent accuracy these two distinct groups – cognitively normal participants who would progress to MCI or AD within two to three years, and those who would remain normal in the near future.”

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Researchers hope this test will help develop earlier treatment options for people that will end up suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“The preclinical state of the disease offers a window of opportunity for timely disease-modifying intervention, and biomarkers defining this asymptomatic period are critical for successful development and application of these therapeutics,” Federoff stated.

The World Health Organization predicts the incurable Alzheimer’s disease will double every 20 years globally, going from 35.6 million individuals suffering from the disease in 2010 to 115.4 million by 2050.

The study will be published in the April issue of Nature Medicine.