Guest Author, Robert Best, Executive Director Oak Hill Terrace
Scientists who study Alzheimer’s share a common goal: to find new methods to diagnose the disease early, before the most recognizable symptoms of the disease begin. If this becomes possible, many drug treatments that are in development could begin earlier.
One new study reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, indicates that diabetes is linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), collaborated with scientists from Northwestern University in Illinois on the study.
The hope that these results provide may be profound. UMDNJ researcher Peter Frederikse was quoted in a UMDNJ press release:
“Because we used diabetes as an instigator of the disease, our study shows – for the first time directly – the link between Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Second, our study examined the retina, which is considered an extension of the brain, and is more accessible for diagnostic exams,” Frederikse added. “Our findings indicate that scientists may be able to follow the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease through retinal examination, which could provide a long sought after early-warning sign of the disease.
Given the growing rates of diagnosis of both Alzheimer’s and diabetes, finding a biomarker for Alzheimer’s like this could have a great impact on drug research and development. The possibility, to one day, identify onset of the disease through eye exams versus brain scans is truly exciting.
Robert Best is Executive Director of Laureate Group’s Oak Hill Terrace community in Waukesha. He is a licensed health care administrator and has almost 30 years of experience working with older adults in a variety of settings, including skilled nursing facilities, senior housing, home care and assisted living. He is a fellow in the Wisconsin Geriatric Education Center, an author of numerous books and articles on aging and has presented at conferences across the United States, including the American Society of Aging and National Council on Aging.