Can Your Eyes Warn of Future Alzheimer’s Disease?

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Amyloid Plaques in Brain Tissue

Amyloid Plaques in Brain Tissue

According to new research being trialed, it may be possible to one day detect Alzheimer’s disease in its very earliest stages using eye tests. The tests would alert doctors to the presence of amyloid plaque deposits (a known marker for Alzheimer’s), through non-invasive retinal testing.

If the tests prove to be affective, it could mean that doctors would be able to notice signs of Alzheimer’s up to 20 years before the noticeable symptoms begin, creating a large window for intervention.

It has become widely accepted that protein deposits called amyloid plaques in the brain are a key marker of Alzheimer’s. It has also been suggested that there is a correlation between the amount of these plaques found in the eye and the amount in the brain. Though not yet proven, that argument has gained merit because the retina is formed from the same tissue as the brain when a fetus is developing.

To test this theory, the Daily Mail reports two separate tests have been developed and are currently undergoing trials. The Retinal Amyloid Index is being undertaken by NeuroVision, while the Sapphire II is being tested by Cognoptix.

Professor Keith Black, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and co-founder of NeuroVision, emphasized the importance of early detection. He told the journal, “The key for having an effective treatment for AD is early detection. you want to prevent those brain cells from being killed or dying in the first place.”

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