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Beacon of HOPE Wellness Committee: New tests could offer early Alzheimer’s warning

November 15, 2017
By Caryle Regan , Pine Island Eagle

Special to The Eagle

Did you know that your eyes, speech patterns or your sense of smell could possibly be early indicators of Alzheimer's disease? There are now clinical trials under way to determine the effectiveness of these indicators.

In clinical trial right now is an eye test developed by doctors from Cedar-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. They use light to look in the back of the eye at an area called the retina. This area is an extension of the brain. Doctors have observed that the amyloid plaques, which are the hallmark of Alzheimer's, not only show up in the brain but also in the retina of the eye. Using this test they are hoping to detect Alzheimer's 15-20 years earlier than is possible today.

Keith L. Black, MD, chairman of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Neuro-surgery, states that the "test takes about 20 minutes. It is non-invasive, affordable and has been highly accurate in determining if someone does not have the disease and also has a good track record for being able to tell patients when they do have it." (from

Another clinical trial is looking at the possibility that your sense of smell might be an early indicator for the progression of Alzheimer's. At McGill University of Montreal, researchers used a scratch-and-sniff booklet. "They associated odor identification to Alzheimer's disease-related proteins in brain and spinal fluid. The research found that a lessened ability to identify odors was associated with lower thinking and memory skills, older age, and brain shrinkage." (from

Changes in our everyday speech patterns could also be an indication of early mild impairment of a person's thinking skills. Increased problems finding the right work to use to describe an object or situation, the increased use of short sentences or greater use of pronouns such as he or she instead of the person's name could also possibly be an early indicator of the disease.

Knowing these things will help researchers find an earlier cure for the disease.

The Beacon of HOPE is located at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St. James City. You can contact the center at or 239-283-5123 or online at beaconofhopepine



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