Color perception differentiates AD from VaD patients


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  • Hey dude, are you going to Isaac's tonight?
  • No man, I can't.  I'm going to visit my grandpa tonight.  My parents had to move him to a homecare facility because he has Alzheimer's Disease (AD).
  • Awe man, that sucks!  I have heard about AD, but don't know much about it.
  • AD is the most common form of dementia in the elderly, with the second most common being Vascular Dementia (VaD).  The difference is that VaD is due to small and large vessel related causes, whereas AD is due to a reduction in neurotransmitters, like acetylcholine, glutamate and serotonin, in certain regions of the cortex and the hippocampus (Arnaoutoglou et al., 2017).
  • That's interesting, but why does it matter which type of dementia a person has?
  • Estimated worldwide prevalence of AD is 47.5 million, which is expected to double by 2030, and triple by 2050.  It has been proposed that delaying the onset by five years would reduce the population prevalence by 50%  (Arnaoutoglou et al., 2017).
  • Wow!  That's a huge difference, but that still doesn't explain why the difference in AD and VaD is significant.
  • I was just getting to that! AD patients show reduced performance in color discrimination tests due to vision structures, such as the primary cortex, and the retinal ganglionar cells (Salamone et al., 2009).
  • Yeah, so...
  • So, Arnaoutoglou et al. (2017) did a research experiment to see if the Ishihara Color Vision Test could provide a differential diagnosis between AD a VaD.  This is an important study, because the results could provide information for the pharmaceutical companies to development new drugs which can help an astonishing number of people, now and in the future.
  • Hey, wait! Didn't we learn about Ishihara Color Vision Test in our Perception class this term?
  • Yes, we did!  The Ishihara Color Vision Test  uses configurations of multicolored discs with embedded symbols, which only those people without color impairment can see (Yantis & Abrams, 2016).  Arnaoutoglou et al. (2017) used the Ishihara Color Vision Test-38 plate version.  Let's go for lunch, and I will tell you about the experiment and the results.
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