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A routine eye exam may be able to screen people for early signs of Alzheimer's disease, new research has found.
Patients who've been diagnosed with the condition have dangerous levels of two rogue proteins in the brain that lead to dementia.
Scientists - Patients - Retina - Technique - Resolution
Scientists say these same patients also have thinning of the retina that can be detected through a non-invasive technique that produces high resolution 3-D images of the back of the eyeball.
The test would be performed in middle-age, long before most are diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Discovery - Washington - University - School - Medicine
The discovery, from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, sheds fresh light on the age-related brain disease and could offer hope of earlier diagnosis and treatments that could slow down the progression of symptoms.
To diagnose Alzheimer's, doctors currently use PET scans, which evaluate your organ and tissue functions, and spinals taps - but they are invasive and often expensive procedures.
Americans - Ages - Alzheimer - Disease
An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer's disease in 2018.
Sufferers experience a decline in cognitive, behavioral and physical abilities and there is no cure.
Disease - Build-up - Proteins - Beta - Tau
Those who have the disease have a build-up of two proteins, amyloid beta and tau, in the brain that form clumps, which smother and destroy neurons - leading to loss of memory and confusion.
Autopsies of Alzheimer's patients have also shown a thinning in the retina's center and deterioration of the optic nerve.
Study - Team - Retinas - Men - Women
For the study, the team examined the retinas of 30 men and women in their 70s who were participating in the Memory and Aging Project at Washington University's Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.
None of the patients had symptoms - such as memory loss, mood and personality changes, and difficulty in understanding questions - but...
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