A study released on July 13th has shown the possibility of identifying Alzheimer’s patients earlier and in a more safe way by looking in the eyes.

Alzheimer’s, the disease responsible for up to 80% of dementia in the US, causes a progressive loss of cognitive function that affects daily activities. Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s has always been tricky, requiring a complete medical exam, blood work and neurological imaging. Frequently Alzheimer’s is not diagnosed until the disease has already fully manifested itself.

Alzheimer’s manifests itself by creating plaques on the brain. The eye is, in essence, an extension of the brain, and researchers have found similar distinct plaques form in the retina of affected individuals. They are creating an imaging tool that allows them to stain the retinal plaques in the eye with Cumrcumin, a safe and non-toxic derivative of turmeric, and image the plaques. The new findings create the possibility of detecting the disease decades earlier.

The implication of this research point towards a future ability to diagnose and monitor the progression of Alzheimer’s in the Eye Doctor’s Office!

Click on the link below to view a video clip from NBC News: