The research published in the journal Neurology found that increased levels of ceramide were linked to a higher risk of developing the disease, the 'Daily Mail' reported.
Researchers tested 99 dementia-free women in their 70s for the fatty compound, which is associated with inflammation and cell death.
They were then ranked into three groups depending on their ceramide levels and followed for over nine years.
27 out of 99 women developed dementia, of which 18 were diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's.
The study found that those who had the highest levels of ceramides were ten times more likely to develop Alzheimer's than those with the lowest levels. Those with middle levels were eight times more at risk.
"Our study identifies this biomarker as a potential new target for treating or preventing Alzheimer's disease," Dr Michell Mielke, of John Hopkins University said.
"These findings are important because identifying an accurate biomarker for early Alzheimer's that requires little cost and inconvenience to a patient could help change our focus from treating the disease to preventing or delaying it," Dr Valory Pavlik, of Houston's Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center was quoted as saying by the paper.