A new study says the retina of a tiny fruit fly may be the key to understanding what causes the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The study is being conducted by the University of Dayton and the University of Florida. UD assistant professor of biology Amit Singh says fruit flies are ideal for the research.
Using the fruit fly's eye as a model, the research team has discovered that memory loss can likely be prevented by blocking the death of cells through the manipulation of a key gene. The next step in the study is testing 3,000 different drugs on the fruit flies to find candidates for stopping the cell death. Singh says Alzheimer's is often detected very late, once the damage has been done. He says scientists are looking into early detection, before signs of cognitive decline start.