Alzheimer’s disease, the terrible and subtle illness which slowly kills brain cells, is currently incurable. The population affected by this disease worldwide amounts to approximately 30 million people, but will reach a 100 million peak within the next 40 years.
In the last few days, some therapies and options have been made public, which might help cure the disease, slow down its process and, hopefully, prevent its development.
For example, a simple and cheap eye test might help diagnose the illness in its early stages, while a cocktail of common use medicines might improve our memory and its response in fighting the subtle Alzheimer, which hurts patients not only in their bodies but also in their pride, hampering their personal relations with their peers.
The research carried out by London University College has shown how a common eye checkup may help measuring in real time the speed at which brain cells are degrading, by simply measuring the same speed on retinal cells.
In fact, the retina is a direct extension of the brain, and the health of our retinal cells is proportional to that of brain cells; therefore with a simple visit to out optician, we will be able to obtain answers to a broad range of question on our conditions, and will also be able to provide an accurate diagnosis in due time to cure neurodegenerative diseases.
Death of nerve cells is a key factor in studying this kind of diseases, and so far it was not possible to measure its velocity in real time. Thanks to this technique, doctors will be able to follow and observe it at any given time, without complicated and expensive tests, and by diagnosing the disease in its early stages, it will be possible to try and reverse it, and measure the effect of therapies in real time.