By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 08:53 BST, 12 July 2019 | Updated: 08:55 BST, 12 July 2019
Scientists could count blood vessels in people's eyes to detect early signs of the memory-robbing disease, Alzheimer's.
A study found that people with early signs of cognitive decline had a noticeably smaller number of capillaries in the back of their eyes than healthy people.
The finding adds to past evidence which suggests the changes in the tiny blood vessels may be a window to changes in the brain.
Research in this field is still in its infancy, but scientists said an eye test could one day be used to spot Alzheimer's in its early stages.
Scientists could use blood vessels in the eyes to detect the memory robbing disease Alzheimer's as a study reveals lower amounts may indicate the early stages
Northwestern University in Chicago recruited 32 participants who went through brain testing to see how good their memory was.
Those with cognitive decline were matched with people of the same age, gender and race whose cognitive (brain) health was good.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, thinking skills and the ability to perform simple tasks.
It is the cause of 60 percent to 70 percent of cases of dementia.
The majority of people with Alzheimer's are age 65 and older.
More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s.
It is unknown what causes Alzheimer's. Those who have the APOE gene are more likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer's.
Signs and symptoms:Difficulty remembering newly learned information Disorientation Mood and behavioral changes Suspicion about family, friends and professional caregivers More serious memory loss Difficulty with speaking, swallowing and walking
Stages of Alzheimer's:Mild Alzheimer's (early-stage) - A person may be able to function independently but is having memory lapses Moderate Alzheimer's (middle-stage) - Typically the longest stage, the person may confuse words, get frustrated or angry, or have sudden behavioral changes Severe Alzheimer's disease (late-stage) - In the final stage, individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation and, eventually, control movement
There is no known cure for Alzheimer's, but experts suggest physical exercise, social interaction and adding brain boosting omega-3 fats to your diet to prevent or slowdown the onset of symptoms.
All individuals had eye imaging, and those who had cognitive impairment had fewer capillaries in their