It appears that eyes are not only the windows to the soul but also to the brain. Scientists have developed an eye scan technique that may detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, before major symptoms start. Therapies are most effective at slowing the progression of the disease when detected early on.
63 participants were used in the study. All were classified as high risk for Alzheimer’s disease based on family history and other emerging symptoms. The study used optical coherence tomography (OCT), a medical imaging technique used to observe microscopic details, to scan the retina for abnormalities. Ten of the participant’s retinal nerve cell layers showed measurable increases in thickness, a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease progression. In addition, they had higher levels of beta-amyloids, a biomarker for the disease, close to the retina.
The research was presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).
Source: Lim Y, Johnson L, Fernandez B, et al. High-resolution retinal imaging in the identification of preclinical Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 2015; 11 (7): P158-P159.