New research suggests that Alzheimer's disease can be detected earlier by an eye exam, seniorjournal.com reports.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, showed that the plaque that damages the nerves in the brain that leads to Alzheimer's can present itself in the retinas beforehand.
The findings are encouraging because it provides patients with an elusive non-invasive test to detect the disease earlier.
The source emphasizes the importance of early detection, saying that past studies have shown that changes in the brain may begin years or even decades before symptoms occur.
Aside from tests, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) says there are myriad other symptoms that can serve as an early indicator that one might be at risk for Alzheimer's. The biggest indicator is memory loss, which could be a sign of amnestic mild cognitive impairment - which sometimes is a precursor of Alzheimer's. Other research has shown that other early symptoms can include problems with sense of smell. The NIA says that an estimated 5.1 million Americans may suffer from the disease.