While there have been several breakthrough studies announced in recent news related to Alzheimer’s research, few are as exciting as the possibility that we may soon be able to detect Alzheimer’s disease years before symptoms develop.
Scientists have identified that the the beta amyloid present in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient is also present in the retina of the eye. When beta amyloid levels are increased there are certain changes that are visibly observed in the retina. Multiple research studies are underway in several countries, including the United States, to better understand retinal changes consistent with increased beta amyloid and how this could lead to diagnosing Alzheimers disease. Early indicators suggest retinal examinations could lead to a diagnosis as much as 15 – 20 years before an individual becomes symptomatic.
While we continue to wait for a cure to be found, early diagnosis is our next great hope. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the quicker treatment can begin and thus slow disease progression.