Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today (Wednesday) said new international research on ways to identify Alzheimer’s at an early stage is encouraging and worthy of further consideration. Trails conducted at Harvard Medical School and Columbia University have shown that simple eye and smell tests can help to spot the debilitating disease at an early stage.
“According to these trials, simple eye exams and tests to determine your ability for smells could help to identity Alzheimer’s easily at an earlier stage. This is very encouraging, and while the research is at an early stage, it is definitely worthy of further consideration.
“According to the Alzheimer’s Association of Ireland, 48,000 people are currently suffering from dementia in Ireland. Due to our rapidly aging population, this figure is set to almost triple to 132,000 over the next 30 years.
“Life expectancy for people with Alzheimer’s improves significantly if the diagnosis is delivered at an earlier age. These latest findings offer real hope for the future. If the research is proved conclusive it could mean that simple eye and smell tests could be used to detect Alzheimer’s as part of routine health checks for older people, particularly those at risk of the disease.
“The National Dementia Strategy is due to be published this September. In the meantime, I am urging the Department of Health to look at inequities across the country which exist in relation to accessing dementia support services. We must strive to provide equal access to community based supports to include home, day and respite care, and other support services such as social groups.”