KGUN 9 On Your SideNews


This test may predict your risk for Alzheimer's Disease

Posted at 12:46 PM, May 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-16 15:48:38-04


One of these things is not like the other. It's a common puzzle many of us know from brain teaser books, and it's these puzzles that may help determine your risk for Alzheimer's Disease.

Researcher, Emily Mason, Ph.D. from the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville found that people with a genetic predisposition to this disease have more difficulty differentiating between dissimilar objects. 

In this study, participants viewed sets of similar images including faces, objects, scenes and unique characters called greebles. While, participants had the same level of success identifying faces, objects and scenes, those predisposed to Alzheimer's Disease failed to identify the correct greeble 22 percent of the time. The control group, whose immediate family history does not include Alzheimer's Disease only missed 13 percent of the greebles. 

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's Disease, this study is useful in researching how to detect signs before symptoms become apparent and damaging. At The University of Arizona's Department of Neurology, Research Professor, Steve Rapcsak says, "Once you have the cognitive symptoms, it's very difficult to slow down or stop the disease progression. What's exciting now is the development of biomarkers, where we can use brain imaging to identify people who already have the disease, but do not have symptoms yet. These are the people we would like to target in prevention trials."

So, what steps can we take today to better prevent the disease? Racsak says, "Obviously you can't work on your genetics. That's something you inherit. You can work on your physical activity, your cognitive activity, and all the risk factors having to do with heart disease." 

Mason wants to continue monitoring the individuals who performed poorly on the test to find out if they develop Alzheimer's Disease in the future. 


Have a 'Totally Tucson' idea you want to share? Email