Keep your eye on Alzheimer’s

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - HEALTH -

ROU­TINE eye tests could help iden­tify peo­ple in their 40s who are at risk of Alzheimer’s dis­ease decades be­fore their symp­toms de­velop.

Re­searchers have de­tected ev­i­dence of the dis­ease in pa­tients show­ing no signs of mem­ory prob­lems or con­fu­sion with a scan­ner like those used by op­ti­cians. The tech­nique – OCTA – pro­duces 3D im­ages of the back of the eye­ball.

US sci­en­tists at Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity in St Louis found those with thin­ning of the retina had dan­ger­ous lev­els of two rogue pro­teins in the brain that lead to de­men­tia. These de­stroy neu­rons.

The team tested pa­tients in their 70s. But one of the re­searchers, Pro­fes­sor Gre­gory van Stav­ern, said that it might be pos­si­ble to use the eye test to screen peo­ple in their 40s and 50s to see if they were at risk. More test­ing would be needed to con­firm de­men­tia.

It could rev­o­lu­tionise the treat­ment of Alzheimer’s and other forms of de­men­tia by en­sur­ing pa­tients were given drugs early when they were more likely to work. – Daily Mail

Dr Elmi Muller

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