Early detection of Alzheimer's, but is it worth knowing that you will develop this disease?
Alzheimer's disease is a terrible condition. In so many ways the person affected dies in almost every sense of the word but their earthly body will still be alive and may even be in fairly good health.
It must be awful to be married for say forty years and then your partner develop Alzheimer's. In either a short or long period of time the affected person will lose short term memory and may become like a stranger to their partner and family. Some patients become aggressive and, ultimately, most will need long term care.
How sad and what a dreadful prospect for many of us
Recently, there have been press reports about recent discoveries regarding the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Our first reaction was why would you want to know, perhaps twenty years before it happened, that you were going to get Alzheimer's as you age. If you give the matter more thought though it is not as simple as that.
Life never is, is it?....................
A simple eye test used to detect early signs of Alzheimer's
Within the next few years it seems that a simple eye test, to detect Alzheimer's, will be available through Opticians. It is as simple as identifying dying cells. This is done by examining the eye, after a harmless fluorescent dye has been introduced.
Examining these cells, on the Retina of the eye, will be non-invasive and routine. In the past Doctors have found it difficult to follow any Alzheimer's changes to a patients brain. As the disease develops the brain shrinks and cells die.
Observing the changes in each cell, on the Retina, may provide the information necessary to make a correct and early diagnosis of Alzheimer's.
Blood pressure medication reducing the risk of Alzheimer's
Recent research seems to indicate that patients who take angiotensin receptor blockers, ARBs, in order to control their blood pressure, may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's. It appears that this medication may prevent blood vessel damage in the brain, which could contribute to Alzheimer's.
Trials are ongoing
Readers will need to exercise caution when they read this report. Research is ongoing and nothing is conclusive yet. However, early indications look positive.
So would you want to know if you were likely to develop Alzheimer's?
What would you do if you were given such a prognosis? Initially most people may feel that they would not want to know, but think about it:
It is not time yet but, in the near future, you may be given the opportunity to be screened for the early signs of Alzheimer's. How will you feel? Will you want to know? What will you do with the information you have been given?
Of course if Governments simply screen, without revealing the results to the individuals concerned, it will be pointless. They could do this in order to assess the levels of care that will be needed in the future and for research purposes.
It is to be hoped that this new test is not used for such purposes, though.
The quick and easy test, if it works, could offer so many people a last chance at life. Well life as they know and love it.
Well? Would you want to know that you will probably develop Alzheimer's?
Note: Originally reported in 2012 this link dates to Summer 2016
"The retina is made from similar kinds of tissue as the brain and that tissue can be seen directly by looking into the eye. ... According to the Alzheimer's Association, the disease is caused by the buildup of amyloid plaques and tangles in the nerve cells in the brain. Aug 8, 2016"