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For the first time, scientists have been able to detect signs of Alzheimer's disease 10 to 20 years before the onset of dementia. The study, presented Wednesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Paris, focused on people with rare, inherited forms of the disease who develop it relatively young, with symptoms beginning in the patients' 30s, 40s, and 50s. Researchers say the results will help them test drugs that could prevent or slow the progression of the disease, not only in these groups, but also in people with the more common, late-onset variety.

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