Early Warning Signs to Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

The quest to detect Alzheimer’s disease is over. There are apparently signs in your eyes, your speech and even in the way you breakdown different smells. They are doing that in order to decipher signs of the disease. Which is the most common type of dementia. There is no cure found yet for this life changing and deliberating disease which eradicates human memory, personality and thinking process. But scientist think that if this disease is detected in its earlier stages it could be rectified by using medications, lifestyle changes or imposing other alterations to tame it down before it gets out of hands and causes unfix-able brain damage.
There are about 5 million people in America who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and according to the Alzheimer’s association this number could get as high as 16 million by the year 2050. Which means that there is an individual developing this disease after every 66 seconds. There is single test invented to diagnose Alzheimer’s. But the changes in brain start to happen years before showing any signs of it. Now the doctors are shifting their focus towards those signs to catch the early warning signs of the disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease Early Symptoms

Warning Signs

The first eye test to detect Alzheimer’s disease is designed by the doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center located in Los Angeles. There are researchers suggesting that a study in U.S and Australia deducted that a technology. This technology utilizes lights to peek into the eyes can detect the disease about 15-20 before it is diagnosed.

They say that the eye and retina are actually extension of brain. It was observed that the prime observation the biggest tell of the Alzheimer’s disease is amyloid plague. This is one of the earliest signs of the disease and occurs not only in the brain but retina as well. This test takes around 20 minutes. It’s very affordable, threat-free and is highly accurate in determining if a person has the signs of the disease or not. It can very reliably tell if someone has the disease or not.

Researchers are now shifting their focus towards progression of plaque in some patients for study purposes. This test was conducted as a trial in the hospitals of U.S and Australia. This is not for now available for general public.

Sense of Orientation

According to study published in August of 2017, losing the sense of direction could be one of the signs of Alzheimer’s disease.  This study was conducted by showing patients a route and asking them to recreate by remembering cuts and turns. Scott Moffat PhD co-authored a paper. In this paper he explained that this study was implemented real-world navigation tasks. These studies were done on the streets. As well as in the corridors of a hospital. This study was also done by using virtual environments.
Wandering around and getting lost is a common feature. It is complained by many patients and caregivers. This is the one reason expert things sense of navigation might be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. This happens because it affects systems of the brain. These systems are the ones  most affected by Alzheimer’s disease.  
This is used to examine how well are the drugs and behavioral treatments are working. Moreover, one downside of this test is that there is no legitimate way to tell how well a person can navigate. As, those skills vary a lot among different individuals.

 Smelling to Speech

Pulling out a test to identify different smells and odors could also serve as an early warning sign of the progression of this disease. Some experts after testing older people concluded that they are more chances to get the Alzheimer’s disease. It happens because either a parent or a sibling has been diagnosed with it.

They used a scratch and sniff booklet for this purpose. They connected odor identification to the protein related to this disease in the brain and spinal fluid. This research included affects of smelling abilities. It was concluded that the inability to identify odor was directly related to lower thinking, weakened memory skills, brain shrinkage and older age. This is also helpful because odor identification involves many parts of the brain.

There are many studies done to identify possible precursors of the Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms are as follows

  • The lose of hearing could also indicate that the thinking abilities are being negatively affected. This normally happens in older adults. It includes the processing of new data and  flexibility in thinking. This also affects coordination between brain, eye and hand while processing information.
  • There was another study conducted which showed that the use of shorter sentences could also be sign. People start using increased number of pronouns in a sentence. The continuous use of pause words like “um” and “ah” could also be one the early mid signs of the disease. As, they are connected to the defected thinking skills. Which could be precursor to the Alzheimer’s disease.
  • There is another early warning sign of this disease. Which is the memory and thinking problems. This is initiated after being hospitalized in emergency. This happens in case of an urgent admissions and not a planned one. This is found more in the older adults.

The Advantages of an Early Diagnosis

There is no cure for the Alzheimer’s disease. Then why do one want to know they might get the disease years before they do. Because it might help in retention and prevention. If we develop a better understanding of the pattern how how things change with time and can figure out the early warning signs of the brain damages, we could use that in the prevention trails. This enables the patient to benefit from an early treatment, plan their future accordingly and get more chances to take part in clinical drug trials. This also gives them more options to decides about selecting the kind of care. This can also help the patients to decide living options and financial and legal matters according to their needs and preferences.

According to the researchers, Alzheimer’s disease develops 20 years before one starts to lose his/her memory. This is when they start having thinking and behavioral issues. This means by the time you show the real system you have already lost most of your brain cells and connections.  If you can have an early diagnose before losing all of your brain cells , you might have a better chance to have a good therapeutic outcome. But this is also true that testing for early signs of Alzheimer’s disease could be an extremely difficult process.

It is is a very complex procedure as having a knowledge of the increase risk could affect their goals in life. There is no guarantee that they are going to develop this disease. But if they do would that make them change their family situation or their financial setup. If yes then they should let someone take a look at it.

Doctor’s Cut

Doctors say that the right way to go about is by talking to the patients about their mental capabilities. They assure them their is no guarantees that they would get this disease. They talk about the advantages of exercising and keeping a healthy mind by playing crossword puzzles, sudoku games or working.

The researchers suggest that not everybody rely on the GPS systems to get them where they want to go. Instead they trust on their own navigational abilities. This way they exercise this part of their brain.

Researches believe the lifestyle habits play a vital role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. If their habits seem like a warning signs for the disease they could be modified. Mediterranean diet, regular exercise, moderate stress level could help. Getting a good sleep everyday can slow down the progression of the symptoms of the disease.  There  are micro-nutrients such as cur-cumin, omega-3s and other flavonoids that can also help in the process.

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