New Study Suggests Alzheimer's Disease May Be Detectable With an Eye Exam

  • New Study Suggests Alzheimer's Disease May Be Detectable With an Eye Exam

New Study Suggests Alzheimer's Disease May Be Detectable With an Eye Exam

Dr Rosa Sancho from Alzheimer's Research UK said: "We know that diseases like Alzheimer's begin in the brain decades before symptoms like memory loss start".

Grewal and his colleagues used OCTA to peer into the eyes of 39 Alzheimer's patients, 37 people with MCI and 133 cognitively healthy people, the controls.

"While a wide range of other proposed blood tests for Alzheimer's disease are being developed, this is the first study to use a machine learning approach to identify sets of proteins in blood that are predictive of a biomarker in spinal fluid", notes the researcher for IBM's genomics research team. Their results were published Monday in the journal Ophthalmology Retina.

The new findings couldn't have happened without a new scanning technology, called optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA), that allows users to see in fine detail the structure of the back part of the eye. Prof Fekrat and colleagues said this offers "a window into the disease process".

He also claimed that the learning model could drastically slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease. By the time these changes are noticed, the disease is advanced.

It would also give patients time to plan for the future with their families - while they still have their faculties, said the United States team. "It's not possible for current techniques like a brain scan or lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to screen the number of patients with this disease". The medical field for one could stand to benefit, and IBM is putting its resources to work in a new AI blood test that could help detect Alzheimer's ahead of time.

"We're measuring blood vessels that can't be seen during a regular eye exam and we're doing that with relatively new noninvasive technology that takes high-resolution images of very small blood vessels within the retina in just a few minutes", said Sharon Fekrat, lead author of the study.

She added: "We need to detect the disease earlier and introduce treatments earlier".

Using the OCTA that uses light waves that reveal blood flow in every layer of the retina, the researches checked more than 200 people.

Upwards of 5.5 million Americans are estimated to possibly have the brain wasting disease, according to NIH, and these numbers will continue to increase in years to come if no cure is found, projections suggest an impending and staggering global impact of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases.