Study links certain eye conditions to increased risk of Alzheimer's

Desiree Burns
August 11, 2018

"Referred to as 'the window to the brain, ' the eye provides substantial information on brain health", the researchers wrote.

They were part of the Adult Changes in Thought database started in 1994 by Dr. Eric Larson, who is at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

A new study presented at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference found that intensely treating blood pressure and lowering the top number to 120 instead of 140 can lower the chances of developing Alzheimer's and Dementia.

"Because you have those eye conditions does not mean you will develop Alzheimer's".

Although Alzheimer' disease is the most common dementia, it's hard to diagnose early.

Researchers found that patients with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma were at 40 percent to 50 percent greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared to people without these eye conditions.

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According to World Health Organization, worldwide there are about 50 million people living with dementia and about 10 million new cases are added every year. Also, older hemodialysis patients with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease had a 2-fold higher risk of dying. "This study solidifies that there are mechanistic things we can learn from the brain by looking at the eye".

The strongest risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer's disease were age (86 years), black race, female sex, and institutionalization (such as in a nursing home).

The eye even has the same type of tissues as the brain, the researchers said.

The study looked at more than 9,000 people.

The researchers said several factors suggest the effects they uncovered were specific to ophthalmic conditions and not merely age-related phenomenon.

Research published by the county's Alzheimer's Project estimates that the total net lifetime cost for a person living with all forms of dementia including Alzheimer's is $321,780. Speckien says the disease is impacting more and more people in the local area.

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