Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia are becoming more frequent in older people. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 5% and 8% of people over the age of 60 have dementia. So there are several factors of doubt for science. One of the most important factors is genetics.
For the percentage mentioned above, a research team from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has developed a application which can recognize basic information about a person’s neurological functions by looking at the size of the pupil.
According to one of the largest studies to date, up to 75 genes associated with an increased risk of dementia, including 42 previously unrecorded genes, have been identified from analysis of the genome of 100,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease and 600,000 healthy people. .
In this sense, it is believed that the immune system has something to do with its appearance, since it may be due to an “too aggressive” response from the immune cells of the brain, called microglia.
In addition to this, another investigation found that there is a Link between depression and Alzheimer’s disease since in the most severe cases of the first case, the memory decays more quickly.
Neurodegenerative diseases could be detected with an app
The contributions of the technology in improving the quality of life of people with neurodegenerative diseases are numerous. In this particular case, with self-diagnosis it is really easy.
“Although there is still much work to be done, I am excited about the potential to use this technology to bring neurological screening out of clinical laboratories and into homes,” he explains in a release collin barry, main author of the article.
Therefore, the measurement of pupil changes is done by a method called pupil Response Test, but currently it requires specialized and expensive equipment, so it is not possible outside the clinic.
The app uses the near infrared camera of a smartphone to detect a person’s pupil. Thus, the app can calculate height with sub-millimeter precision, comparable to a pupil meter.
Besides, researchers have made it really accessible to people of all ages, such as older people, who are less familiar with new technologies.
This tool is currently under development to ensure accessibility for everyone with a simple gesture on mobile devices.
How Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain
Scientists continue to try to understand the complex brain changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease. It is likely that changes in the brain may begin a decade or more before any symptoms appear.
During this extremely early stage of Alzheimer’s disease, toxic changes are taking place in the brain, including abnormal accumulations of proteins that form amyloid plaques and tau tangles.
Neurons, which were previously healthy, stop working, they lose connections with other neurons and die. Many other complex brain changes are also thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.
It appears that the damage initially occurs in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex parts of the brain essential for forming memories. As more neurons die, other parts of the brain are affected and begin to shrink.
In the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the damage is extensive and brain tissue has shrunk considerably.
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