(NBC NEWS) – New research has uncovered simple ways to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and found ways to help prevent memory decline in the first place. Link: Alzheimer’s Association 71-year-old Jane Todd is participating in a Harvard study that has found changes in a person’s sense of smell appear to be an early sign of cognitive impairment. Jane does not have Alzheimer’s, but like so many adults, she wonders whether her minor lapses in memory are a normal part of aging, or something more. The eyes may also hold clues about Alzheimer’s. Another study found doctors can look at the retina and see build-up of beta amyloid, a marker of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. “It can be an early indicator… an indicator that tells the eye doctor, for example, that a person should go on and get a more – a more distinct workup, neuropsychological testing, memory testing, MRIs, etc.,” explained Dr. Mario Carrillo. A study of 1,200 people at risk for dementia found a group of lifestyle changes can reduce memory decline. Participants who exercises, got nutrition counseling, managed their heart health, played brain games and even got out and socialized, all performed better on cognitive testing after two years, than those who received regular doctor’s advice. “This is the first time we actually have a recipe, that we can say ‘this recipe works.’ You can try to follow this and you should be able to see some results,” said Dr. Carrillo. The results of all of this new research were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference and are considered preliminary until additional studies are done.