A new study revealed important information about how Alzheimer’s disease develops in the brain. These findings show that an eye exam might be a way to detect this dementia-related condition. The eye screening might become part of the annual exams.
The Connection Between an Eye Exam and Alzheimer’s
Researchers from the University of Texas found a connection between the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and a toxic protein that can be seen during a routine eye exam. This study also showed the way in which doctors can find this toxic protein.
This study comes after the researchers previously found the link between the tau protein and Alzheimer’s. They also discovered that brain cells form highways with the help of this protein. In some diseases like this one, the tau protein becomes toxic and it’s called tau oligomers.
When the protein becomes toxic the nutrients can’t move to where they were needed and the brain cells start to die. When this happens the disease gets even more serious causing the person to develop dementia, another mental problem.
Inflammation in the brain is considered an important factor that can trigger Alzheimer’s disease. The inflammation combined with unconnected nerves in the brain form the tangles that are characteristic for Alzheimer’s.
The researchers believe that there is a connection between the protein and the inflammation. This means that the tau oligomers might be the ones that cause this inflammation. After that, the inflammation can cause Alzheimer’s disease.
The Inner Workings of the Research
In order to conduct this study, the researchers analyzed retina samples of people that have Alzheimer’s disease. They also made analyses of the brain to make sure that the results are correct. Their work was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The positive finding was that a simple eye exam will detect retina tissue which shows if the protein is toxic. The eye exam can also provide information about inflammation and this could predict Alzheimer’s disease.
The fact that inflammation can be detected is a great step into preventing the neurodegenerative disease. The inflammation can be reduced more easily, therefore preventing the onset of more serios brain disorders.
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