Incredible dementia diagnosis breakthrough 20 years before symptoms! 69



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Dementia is fast becoming one of the most concerning age-related illnesses. So far, there’s no cure, no real diagnosis before the onset of symptoms and it can be heartbreaking for those around a sufferer. However, an incredible breakthrough has found a way to detect and diagnose the disease 20 years before the symptoms even begin to show!

Trials by US and Australian researchers have found changes in the eye’s retina may mirror changes that occur in the brain with dementia.

Retinal specialist at Duke University Medical Centre, Eleonora Lad said people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease experienced abnormalities in vision, perception of colour, motion and peripheral vision.

Dr Mojtaba Golzan, researcher with the School of Advanced Medicine at Macquarie University, said the idea came from looking at the disease using retinal scans.

“We’ve been recruiting patients who are sort of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and we’re scanning their eyes for any symptoms,” Dr Golzan said.

“When we stimulate it, the cells become active and they demand for more blood basically from the brain, and the brain responds by sending in more blood to the eye.

“And what we are seeing in these patients is that the response of the brain to the demand of blood from the eye is much lower in these patients compared to the controls on the same age and effects”.

The software used is a unique type of image-analysis and after a few eye scans, this will show these abnormalities and changes mentioned above.

With increasing frequency of dementia among the over 60s, this eye test is likely to become commonplace in preventative and preparatory health checks. The question is, what age should this test become part of a routine?

50 seems a logical point as most diagnoses of dementia are later in life, however early onset dementia is also increasing in frequency too. The other concern is whether or not lifestyle changes can be made to prevent the onset or delay the onset in patients who may have signs of the disease.


So tell us, would you like to see this become a standard preventative health check? At what age should it be introduced? Share your thoughts in the comments below… 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. yes it should be compulsory to forewarned is to be forearmed. Until they find a cure it will give people a chance to sort out their lives before getting the disease

  2. This test appears to be valid only for ‘mild to moderate Alzheimers’ one of the 280+ diseases that have dementia as a core symptom. Dementia based illnesses have been referred to as the greatest single future health cost facing the world economy. As we are becoming aware dementia based illnesses can strike from as young as age 2 to 30’s and into the older 60+ age group. Early diagnosis for best treatment practices and interventions is a helpful for persons who suffer from dementia related illnesses. . Why use the wording compulsory in your teaser? The article does not refer to compulsory testing. Compulsory testing for something that is neither curable or preventable. Why? There could be flow on impacts with insurance and health care providers etc. when attempting to obtain or change cover. More data on confirmed diagnosis from initial testing would be helpful This information appears to have come from observing those who already have the disease compared to a control group. Access to the empirical research via a link to the abstract or the paper would be helpful. Personally I would be happy to be tested … but compulsory testing NO …ease of availability …and reasonable cost YES..

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  3. I would rather not know. And if it was compulsory and you were found to be pre dementia, would this prevent your employment and insurance etc?

  4. What is the advantage of knowing unless there is a valid treatment? From observing my Mother who is suffering from this illness, all the preparations in the world will not help as she does not remember. Every time I visit I have to try and explain why she cannot go home and not that she knows where home is. Sometimes it is where she grew up as a child and sometimes the home where she raised her children but never the home she left 2 years ago when this illness caused her to be taken into care. I believe staying happy, have an interesting life and question all medication that is prescribed will help to make a later life more healthful. I will try to make my Mum happy each time I see her, I try to distract her anxiety by asking about her recipes (she was an excellent cook) show her photos of family and explain who they are. I am sure there are many others out who can relate to this. For ourselves, we must do the best we can so that our older years are joyful and yes, prepare for whatever by talking with family now.

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