Researchers, including one of Indian descent, are developing a non-invasive eye test that one day can help to detect Alzheimer's disease even before the symptoms appear. According to scientists, Alzheimer's plaques can build up in the brain two decades before the onset of symptoms such as memory loss and cognitive decline.
The non-invasive technique – called optical coherence tomography angiography – radiates light into the eye, allowing a doctor to measure the thickness of the retina, as well as the thickness of the fibers in the optic nerve.
The test detected evidence of Alzheimer's disease in elderly patients who had no symptoms of the disease.
"The retina and central nervous system are interconnected so that changes in the brain can be reflected in cells in the retina," says Rajendra S. Apte, professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
"This technique has great potential to become a screening tool that helps determine who should undergo more expensive and invasive testing for Alzheimer's disease before clinical signs occur," lead author Bliss E. O & # 39; Bryhim from the varsity.
"Our hope is to use this technique to understand who accumulates abnormal proteins in the brain that can lead them to develop Alzheimer's disease," said Bryhim.
In previous studies, the eyes of people who have died of Alzheimer's disease have shown signs of dilution in the middle of the retina and degradation of the optic nerve.
The study, described in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology,
added angiography – with which doctors can distinguish red blood cells from other tissues in the retina – to test.
In patients with preclinical Alzheimer's disease, the area in the middle of the retina without blood vessels was significantly larger, indicating less blood flow, the researchers found.
"We found that this zone without blood vessels was significantly increased in people with preclinical Alzheimer's disease," said Apte.
If changes detected with this eye test can be used as markers for the risk of Alzheimer's disease, it may one day be possible to screen people as young as in their 40s or 40s in order to see if they are at risk for the disease, they noticed.
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Published: August 24, 2018 4:46 PM