Apparently getting your eyes checked can help you with more than just your vision. A new study has shown signs that Alzheimer’s Disease can be predicted 10 to 20 years before the disease sets in by a visual test of a person’s retina. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s at this time, and it reportedly affects up to 35 million people around the world.
At present, Alzheimer’s is diagnosed using PET scans and spinal taps which are not the most ideal tools. Needless to say, if routine eye examinations can help to diagnose the disease just as well, that would be a positive improvement for everyone involved. Doctors have discovered that when too much of the beta-amyloid protein builds up in the brain that a patient is at risk for developing Alzheimer’s. When too much of the beta-amyloid builds up, it causes problems with the hippocampus, which then causes problems with memory. But doctors have recently discovered that seeing the protein build-up doesn’t require a PET scan or a spinal tap – the protein can be seen in a patient’s retina.
Researchers recently performed a trial of this study with 200 volunteers and the results showed great promise. The excess protein could be seen in the retinas of every patient with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
While there’s no cure for the awful disease, there are steps that can be taken to help slow its effects, and if those steps are taken years before the disease fully sets in – who knows what could happen. Loved ones could potentially gain so much more time with their relatives while they have their memories still intact.
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[Image via Medical Daily]