CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is giving approval to market the first test to improve early diagnosis.

The Lumipulse test detects amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s intended for adult patients 55 years or older who are showing cognitive decline.

“When we look at anything that helps us get to an earlier and more accurate diagnosis, it is something that those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are really excited about,” said Clay Jacobs, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter.

The FDA said it can typically be completed in one day and can give doctors the same information about a patient’s brain without the radiation risk.

“To be able to go beyond just traditional memory and thinking tests to the biological underpinnings of this disease and to be able to see that to help diagnose is a really significant advancement to be available to the public in the coming years,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs said early diagnosis can help people take control when planning their future.

“I encourage folks who hear about it to talk to their physician,” said Jacobs.

While any advancement is good news, Orfeu Buxton, the principal investigator leading Penn State University in the Einstein Aging Study, said there’s much more to be done.

“It’s great that there’s some early tests, but we need to establish the evidence base for those in a broader number and types of people and different contexts,” said Buxton.

The Einstein Aging Study is focused on understanding how the brain ages. It formed in the 1980s and was recently awarded $32 million in a grant from the National Institute on Aging, allowing it to continue its research over the next five years.

“We want to move things from fear to hope,” said Buxton.