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Alzheimer’s Disease Could Be Diagnosed with…an Eye Exam?

Every 67 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. This degenerative neurological disorder is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms develop gradually and worsen over time until they are pronounced enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all cases of dementia.

Currently, doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s disease using:

  • Full medical history
  • Mental status testing
  • Physical and neurological testing
  • Blood tests
  • Brain imaging

The United States and Australia conducted independent testing to identify a biomarker for the Alzheimer’s disease that can be located in the retina and lens of the eye. The key indicator for Alzheimer’s disease is a sign of beta-amyloid protein, which clumps in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers. Researchers stated that both methods were up to 85 percent accurate in differentiating between healthy volunteers and those who may in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The results of the study could be a “game changer” in how Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed and treated. However, the testing is ongoing and still in the early stages. Hopefully, someday a test for Alzheimer’s disease will be included in a comprehensive eye exam. Dr. Simon Ridley, the head of science at Alzheimer’s Research, UK, commented that the research is promising but it is still in the trial phase (Source: Montreal Gazette).