EXPERTS have devised an eye test that can spot signs of Alzheimer’s before symptoms appear.
The technique has shown that webs of blood vessels in the retina are sparser in patients with the disease.
Experts have devised an eye test that can spot signs of Alzheimer’s before symptoms appear[/caption]
It raises the prospect of opticians being able to check for brain health while updating prescriptions for glasses.
The imaging technique enables doctors to see blood vessels smaller than the width of a human hair in high resolution.
Scientists used it to compare the retinas of Alzheimer’s patients with those of people with mild cognitive impairment and others with normal brains.
Researcher Dr Sharon Fekrat said: “It is possible that changes in blood vessel density . . . mirror what’s going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain.
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“If we can detect these blood vessel changes in the retina before any changes in cognition, that would be a game changer.”
She added: “Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is a huge unmet need. It’s not possible for current techniques like a brain scan to screen the number of patients with this disease.”
Dr Fekrat, of Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina, said the eventual goal would be to use the technology to detect Alzheimer’s before symptoms appear — and to monitor changes in people taking part in trials of new treatments.
The technique has shown that webs of blood vessels in the retina are sparser in patients with the disease[/caption]
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