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As an early detection method?: Vision problems could indicate Alzheimer's disease

As an early detection method?: Vision problems could indicate Alzheimer's disease

As a means of early detection?
Vision problems can indicate Alzheimer's disease

Decreased vision is seen as a typical sign of aging. But there is evidence that some visual problems can also be an early indicator of Alzheimer's disease or dementia, as the results of one study now show.

Vision problems can be an early sign of cognitive decline. This is what a research team discovered by analyzing data from more than 8,000 healthy people. Study results show that loss of visual sensitivity can predict dementia 12 years before diagnosis. Based on their findings, the researchers hypothesize that visual processing tests, combined with other neuropsychological tests, make identifying dementia risks in people easier than before.

In their research, the team, led by Eve Hoogervorst from Loughborough University in the UK, used data from a total of 8,623 people who were participating in the EPIC Norfolk study. EPIC is an abbreviation for European Prospective Investigation into Cancer. Of the 8,623 people between the ages of 48 and 92 who were recruited, 537 participants developed dementia at the end of the study.

Special test for visual processing

Study participants first had to complete an on-screen visual test. They were asked to press a button as quickly as possible once they formed a triangle in a field of moving dots. The researchers realized that people who later develop dementia recognize this triangle on the screen much more slowly than people who later live dementia-free.

Accordingly, vision problems could be an early sign of later dementia, as the toxic amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease may initially affect areas of the brain associated with vision. Parts of the brain associated with memory may be damaged as the disease progresses The team in a statement to the university Quoted. Therefore, vision tests of this type can detect deficits before memory tests.

Not everyone notices poor eyesight

There are several aspects of visual processing that are impaired in Alzheimer's disease. For example, the ability to see the outlines of objects, i.e. sensitivity to contrast or distinguish between certain colours, can be reduced without those affected even realizing it. It is already known that the ability to see and distinguish the so-called blue-green spectrum is impaired early in dementia. The ability to control eye movements is also reduced in people who later develop Alzheimer's disease, as is the ability to recognize faces. But what can you do?

The researchers, who examined the relationship between eye movements and memory performance in a previous study, are confident that future studies will be able to answer the question of whether eye movements can affect the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. However, for eye movements or visual processing speeds to be used as a tool to clarify Alzheimer's risk, so-called eye-tracking devices will need to be cheaper and easier to use. The results of the investigation were In the specialized magazine “Scientific Reports”. published.

About epic: At the beginning An epic study Between 1993 and 1998, more than 30,000 men and women aged 40–79 years were recruited from 35 participating general practices in Norfolk. In addition to the cancer-related findings, the so-called cohort study also aims to understand the biology of aging. Participants provide data and participate in additional health screenings for over 25 years. They agreed to future linkage to information from medical records. Many studies have already been conducted for various clinical pictures.

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