Alzheimer’s Disease affects nearly 15 per cent of Canadians over 65 and if nothing changes by 2031, the number of those with A.D. or other dementias will grow to 1.4 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, with earlier detection, steps to delay or prevent the onset and progression of the disease may be possible. Treatments to slow the development of the disease are much more effective if started as early as possible.
Several recent studies, including research presented by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, found a connection between the brain plaques in Alzheimer’s patients and those found in the retina.
Plaque in the brain, know as amyloid plaque, is a sticky protein buildup found on the outside of nerve cells. Plaque buildup is one of the diagnostic tools doctors can use for the identification of A.D.
The preliminary study results, presented in July of 2014 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, suggest that through the use of retinal amyloid imaging, earlier detection of A.D. may be possible. It is hoped that the technology could be used as part of a regular eye exam to provide a non-invasive test for early A.D. detection.
Keeping physically active to maintain a healthy weight as well as controlling hypertension and managing depression are all factors which may prevent the development and progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Brain fitness is also connected with the development of the disease. Like any muscle in the body, the brain must be exercised to keep making connections and stay healthy . For more information on A.D. research and for links to Brain Games and warning signs of dementia, visit the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s website at www.alzheimer.ca .