Alzheimer s may soon be detected with a simple eye exam

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Geek- You go in to your eye doctor for your yearly exam. While you’re getting the air puffed into your eye and the light shined into the back of your brain, the doctor notices something. The retina is a little off. It’s not macular degeneration or general eye deterioration. She detects the early signs of Alzheimer’s.



Alzheimer   s may soon be detected with a simple eye exam

This could be a new reality for patients and doctors if research pans out at the University of Minnesota, where scientists are studying the progression of the disease in mice. What they found was that the retinas in older mice with Alzheimer’s give off less light when a light source was shined on it. Scientists were able to measure that reflection using a retinal imaging device.

Until now, there’s been no real way to detect Alzheimer’s before it reaches the stage where the neurological symptoms show, symptoms like mood swings, memory loss, and paranoia. Doctors and researchers have been going on the idea that the disease works based on a buildup of Amyloid plaque buildup, which some theorize could be caused from infections. But if this research proves to be successful, this would give doctors the upper hand in diagnosing patients early on.

While there is no outright cure for Alzheimer’s, there are several drugs on the market that help slow down the effects of the disease. Three of them are classified as cholinesterase inhibitors, which slow the breakdown of the acetylcholinesterase enzyme, an important neurotransmitter.

The other drug, Namenda, regulates the amount of glutamate produced by the body. When glutamate attaches to a cell, it allows calcium to enter, which in a normal, functioning brain isn’t a big problem. But when you have too much calcium in the cell, it causes damage. So Namenda helps block some of those NMDA receptors that allow excess calcium to enter the cell, causing irreversible damage.

Neither drug works perfectly, and each one’s effectiveness varies per person. But having a head start on the destruction caused by Alzheimer’s would certainly help the memory loss and maintain quality of life in those affected by the disease. It would also give doctors a baseline to see just how effective the current treatment options are. As of now, they have only been able to administer them to patients who have active symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The researchers at The University of Minnesota plan to start clinical trials on people this month. Which in terms of progress, is pretty quick in the medical community. Hopefully, spotting early Alzheimer’s will soon be as easy as getting your eyes checked.

Fuente: www.geek.com
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