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Genes link dementia and cataracts, study suggests

Published 11 September 2012

A possible DNA link between age related cataracts and Alzheimer’s disease has been identified by research published in the journal PLoS One.

The study, conducted by scientists from Boston University's School of Medicine and School of Public Health looked at MRI scans of those with cataracts 10 years on from their initial eye exam.

Results showed a significant correlation between those with age related cataracts and several symptoms of brain degeneration related to Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'Though research shows that there may be a connection between cataracts and the symptoms of dementia, it's likely that the two conditions share underlying causes rather than cataracts increasing people's risk of dementia. We now need more research to understand exactly how the two are linked.

Only 43 per cent of people with dementia receive a diagnosis. This study highlights some interesting avenues for further investigation, which could one day help us develop more effective diagnostic tools to spot dementia earlier. This will enable more people to access vital support, treatments and information.'

Jessica Smith
Research Officer
Alzheimer's Society


Research reference: Jun G, Moncaster JA, Koutras C, Seshadri S, Buros J, et al. (2012) d-Catenin Is Genetically and Biologically Associated with Cortical Cataract and Future.

Alzheimer-Related Structural and Functional Brain Changes. PLoS ONE 7(9): e43728. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043728