Alzheimer's: Vision May Play a Role
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2009 4:42 PM CDT
A potential Alzheimer's sufferer.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Moments of forgetfulness attributed to Alzheimer’s disease could in fact be caused by a loss of vision, the Boston Globe reports, and new research asserts that cranking up contrast—by using colored dinner plates, for instance—could help. “Let’s say you put keys down on the counter and can’t find them,” a researcher says. “People say, ‘Of course she can’t find them—she has Alzheimer’s.’ Well, what if she can’t see them?”

Making Alzheimer’s patients' visual environment easier to discern is a concrete way to improve their quality of life, researchers claim. One scientist found that if the contrast on a letter chart was changed, Alzheimer’s patients could identify the letters as easily as non-sufferers. He also recalls the case of a woman who kept bumping into her dining room table: Her disease prevented her from remembering that she bumped into it, but adding a white tablecloth that contrasted with the dark carpet allowed her to avoid it altogether.