People with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty perceiving certain kinds of visual contrast, researchers say

The Boston Globe (8/10, Johnson) reports that because “the devastating memory gaps of Alzheimer’s disease often conceal…a type of vision loss” which “may make people seem less mentally competent than they actually are,” researchers are “now testing whether they could improve the lives of people with Alzheimer’s by helping them see better, using low-tech interventions such as colored dinner plates, oversize change purses, and special bingo cards.” The scientists “believe that small changes, such as making sure patients can see a light switch or the edge of a stair, could have important consequences for their independence and quality of life.” Researchers have discovered that “Alzheimer’s patients have difficulty picking up on certain kinds of visual contrast.” Unfortunately, “the vision loss does not show up on a typical eye exam, however, so…the problem may be blamed on memory, when it really is eyesight.” A new “rule of thumb may be that if you want a person” with Alzheimer’s “to be able to see something, use bold contrasting colors.”

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