Retina Examination Could Provide Hint to Onset of Alzheimer’s: Study

A new research study has demonstrated that eye scans detecting protein in retina could be the key to quicker diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The new evidence suggests that amyloid-beta plaques, the prime suspects in tissue loss and cell death in the Alzheimer brain, are not only formed in the brain but also the retina.

Researchers at the Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have developed a way to noninvasively identify amyloid deposits in the retina, potentially allowing for the easy and early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s even before severe symptoms appear. Their research report has described the results of a small clinical trial that examined an eye imaging method developed specifically for the study. The research has been published in the journal JCI Insight.

According to the findings, the retina could act as a reliable source for the diagnosis of the disease, stated Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, the principle researcher of the study and associate professor at Cedars-Sinai. Koronyo-Hamaoui added that one of the key advantages of examining the retina is the repeatability, which could help in monitoring patients as well as potentially allowing a closer look at the progression of the condition.

Researchers had previously overlooked the amyloid deposits in the peripheral parts of the retina. Moreover, the amount of amyloid-beta plaque in the retina correlated with that in specific regions of the brain. The researchers now know where exactly to look to see the signs of the disease in earlier stages. Researchers now hope that the investigational eye scan will find use as an extensively used screening devices for detecting the onset or progression of the disorder.