Parenting Archive

Testing the Eyes for Alzheimer’s

  A simple eye scan is now becoming the first step in  diagnosing  early-stage Alzheimer’s according to scientist  Shaun Frost of Australian e-Health Research Center.  According to his findings, the change in the width of the  blood vessels in  the back of the eye is the key to diagnosing  the disease. Building on research  conducted by several  research institutes such as Harvard Medical School, Frost  explains that the close relation of the retina and the brain give  reason to any changes in the retina vessels reflecting changes  in the brain.

  Reportedly in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, amyloid  plaque  builds up in the brain  and affects the blood vessels in  the  light-sensitive tissue of the retina. At the 2011  Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris,  Frost revealed “we’re  seeing signs of the plaque burden  increasing in the brain a long time before we see  the  cognitive defects of Alzheimer’s disease.”

 In a study comparing the eyes of individuals with varying stages of Alzheimer’s to  the eyes of healthy individuals, Frost calculated a ratio between the sizes of the  arteries and veins in the retina and studied how they differed between people with  early-stage Alzheimer’s, more advanced Alzheimer’s, and normal individuals. From  this, Frost determined that “the artery-to-vein ratio in the retina was high in Alzheimer’s disease” due to a thinning of the retina veins and an enlargement of the retina arteries.

While looking at the arteries and veins in the retina to diagnose the disease may seem too good to be true, University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer expert Dr. William Klunk supports the use of this screening tool. Klink believes this noninvasive test could serve to pinpoint individuals that will require more invasive and costly testing procedures and eliminate unnecessary tests in individuals that had normal results.

Source: AARP Health

Past Articles:

How To Have a Safe (and Happy) Halloween!
Delaying Alzheimer's with a Spray of Insulin up the Nose

share this story


News Around the Net