A new study into Alzheimer’s disease has revealed a telltale sign in the eyes that could lead to early diagnosis of the disease affecting an aging population.
There are a number of early symptions of the disease, such as trouble remembering, concentrating or making decisions on an everyday basis.
The new study led by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has found that the eye may signal onset of the illness, as early formation of amyloid plaque may show in the retina.
Amyloid plaque, the toxic protein deposits found between brain cells, are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease and the identification of it as a ‘marker’ may help with diagnosis and, later, a cure.
As efforts grow to find a cure for the debilitating condition, the focal point remains largely on the prevention of amyloid formation.
They observed that the presence of retinal spots in the eyes correlated with brain scans showing high levels of cerebral amyloid.
The team believe this revelation should be used as a biomarker for detecting early-stage AD risk.
Senior author of the study, Robert Rissman, PhD, said: “This was a small initial dataset from the screening visit.
Fatty Acid Diet
Studies have found that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids could help prevent neurodegenerative illnesses by reducing amyloid plaques.
The treatment currently available to treat Alzheimer’s disease only addresses symptoms rather than the underlying cause, but research that focuses on the amyloid hypothesis and improves understanding of this protein’s role in the disease is hoped to lead to the development of new treatments that may be able to delay or stop disease progression.
Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, seaweed and sardines.
A recent study also found that eating foods rich in antioxidants called flavonoids can significantly reduce the risk of the illness.
Flavonoids are a group of metabolites thought to provide health benefits through cells signalling pathways and antioxidant effects.