Alzheimer's: An eye toward the future

Susan Campo would put younger people to shame. She bikes, she hikes, she rides motorcycles, she skies.

She is quite active and alert and funny as she approaches her senior years. Yet, remembering the ravages of Alzheimer's that ultimately contributed to her father's death, she is concerned that the dreaded disease might be in her future.

It’s a disease that affects some five-million Americans and is spreading faster among women than any other group. So curiosity brought her to YouTube and a Cedars-Sinai-produced video starring noted neurosurgeon Keith Black.

Black is starting clinical trials of a retinal scan to detect early signs of Alzheimer's. The concept basically is if a certain type of toxic plaque, a marker for Alzheimer's in the brain, also shows up in the retina, you're likely to develop the disease. The clinical trials are testing whether doing the test at an early age and symptom-free, perhaps as part of routine eye exams, can indicate whether someone will develop Alzheimer’s in the future.

According to doctors, healthier diets, more rest, more exercise both of the body and the brain, will ward off symptoms of Alzheimer's. Campo is an eager volunteer. There's a lot more on her bucket list.

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