Could our eyes be a link to early detection of Alzheimer’s disease? A study from September seems to think so. Researchers found a link between how quickly we react to a flickering light and our processing speed. A slower reaction means slower processing which could show early signs of cognitive impairment; i.e. Alzheimer’s. Who knew?!
Here’s the full article from AllAboutVision.com.
Visual Test with Flickering Lights May Be Easier Than an MRI to Check Cognitive Function
December 2015 — Until recently, detecting dementia and other cognitive issues required lengthy tests, such as an MRI.
But now, researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that a simple technique that measures visual processing speed can more easily provide information about executive cognitive abilities.
Executive cognitive abilities include shifting attention between different tasks, planning, organizing and problem solving.
Performing the test is quick and easy. You simply look into a device inside of which two wavelengths of light flash at increasingly fast speeds. Eventually, you stop recognizing the flash and start to see a circle instead. This is the point at which “critical flicker fusion” (CFF) occurs.
“The point at which you stop seeing the flickering is different for everyone,” says lead study author Catherine Mewborn. But, generally speaking, older test-takers were found to have slower visual processing speeds and a lower CFF measure.
Looking ahead, researchers hope that a simple test like this might soon be used to identify individuals who are showing early signs of cognitive impairment, such as early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study was published in September in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. — A.H.