Professor Ralph Martins, Rotary West Perth member
The McCusker Alzheimers research foundtion have made excellent progress in the early detection of Alzheimers over the past two years. Rotary West Perth has been a significant sponsor for several years.
- A blood test, which uses a combination of several markers to detect the disease up to 15 years before onset, is now approaching the 95% accuracy required to become a routine test for the public.
- PET scans are extremely effective, but are far too expensive to ever be used for screening purposes.
- Professor Martins is excited about a new “Retinal scan” test which involves injecting a fluorescent marker, then taking high resolution digital photos of the retina. The retina is an extension of the brain, and the fluorescent marker concentrates in Amaloid plaques in the small arteries in the retina, thus making them visible. If they are present in the retina they will also be present in the brain. The build up of Amaloid plaques is closely associated with increasing severity of the disease.
There is no cure, but if detected early, current treatments can halt or at least slow the development.