Scientists detect Alzheimer’s disease from eyes

Scientists detect Alzheimer’s disease from eyes

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Washington find eye diseases are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The study shows a strong link between three degenerative eye diseases: age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, and Alzheimer’ disease.

Currently, more than 46 million older adults are affected by dementia worldwide and 131.5 million cases are expected by 2050.

Alzheimer’ disease is the most common dementia, and discovering risk factors may lead to early detection and prevention.

For years Alzheimer’s researchers were focused on amyloid buildup in brain tissue, but that hasn’t brought much benefit to patients.

A better understanding of neurodegeneration in the eye and the brain could bring more success in diagnosing Alzheimer’s early and developing better treatments.

In the study, the team examined the connection between eye diseases and Alzheimer’s.

A total of 3,877 people took part in the study. These people were age 65 and older and did not have Alzheimer’s disease at the time of enrollment.

Over the 5-year study, 792 cases of Alzheimer’s disease were diagnosed.

The researchers found that patients with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma were at 40 % to 50% greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to people without these eye conditions.

The team suggests that anything happening in the eye may relate to what’s happening in the brain, an extension of the central nervous system.

Ophthalmologists should be more aware of the risks of developing dementia for people with these eye conditions and primary care doctors seeing patients with these eye conditions might be more careful on checking on possible dementia or memory loss

The possible connections need more work in the future.

The results offer physicians a new way to detect those at higher risk of this disorder, which causes memory loss and other symptoms of cognitive decline.

The lead researcher Dr. Cecilia Lee is assistant professor of ophthalmology at the UW School of Medicine.

The study is published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

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Source: Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.