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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Alzheimers test

Researchers have developed a test they say can identify Alzheimer's disease a decade before symptoms appear.

Twelve years ago, Rosa Rodrigo took a wrong turn, when she was pulling out of a shopping center parking lot.
Well, a little scary because I didn't remember where I came from or where I was supposed to be going.

After that initial moment of panic, things got worse. Rosa had trouble getting dressed, remembering her favorite recipes.  She started repeating herself.

I see every now and again she'll be walking on her way to do something and then she'll suddenly stop because she doesn't remember where she was going or what it was that she was doing.

Rosa is taking medications to try and blunt the symptoms. She also signed up for a clinical trial that could help unlock some mysteries of the aging brain.

Currently, we're diagnosing Alzheimer's with a memory test. By the time you get memory loss, you've already lost about 50 percent of your brain cells. It's very difficult for any treatment to be effective at that point.

But what if you could spot the disease 5, 10 even 20 years before you became symptomatic? Dr. Black says he might have found a way... By using the eyes as a window into the brain.

Normally, we do not think of the eye as being an extension of the brain, but during embryonic development, the back of the eye -- the retina --actually develops from the brain itself. So it's brain tissue.

One tell-tale sign of Alzheimer's is a buildup of sticky plaque -- called beta-amyloid -- inside the brain. They can start to develop a decade or two before the first symptoms -- and in fact -- those same plaques develop in eye tissue as well.

The beauty of that is that it allows us to essentially have a non-invasive, repeatable, high-resolution test, to be able to see these protein changes that are the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease very early.