The latest Alzheimer’s breakthrough is focused on eyes, which researchers are saying can be “read” for early detection of the disease.
A new study by the Washington School of Medicine, published in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia journal, found a connection between degenerative eye diseases and Alzheimer's disease, The Express reported.
People with eye conditions such age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma were found be at a higher risk of developing the degenerative brain disorder, which leads to cognitive decline and memory loss.
In a study, 3,877 randomly selected participants aged 65 or over were monitored for five years.
At the start of the study, those enrolled did not have Alzheimer’s but by the end nearly 800 developed the disease.
Researchers found that patients with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma were at 40 percent to 50 percent greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to people without these eye conditions.
Dr. Paul Crane, professor of medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, at the UW School of Medicine, said the study “solidifies that there are mechanistic things we can learn from the brain by looking at the eye.”
This is not to say that all people with these eye conditions will develop the degenerative brain disease, but researcher Dr. Cecilia Lee, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the UW School of Medicine, said the eye conditions could be a red flag.
“The main message from this study is that 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,” Lee said in a statement.
Early detection and preventative measures are thought to be key with Alzheimer’s, which is the most common form of dementia.
In the U.S., the disease is the sixth leading cause of death, with someone developing Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Currently, an estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's and this number is expected to rise dramatically in the next few years.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.