Eye test to detect Alzheimer’s

Test could detect condition before symptoms develop

Using fluorescent markers that attach to dying cells in the retina, giving an early indication of brain cell death, scientists say they’ve developed a simple eye test that could detect Alzheimer’s and other diseases before symptoms develop. So far, the research has been done on mice, although human trials are planned for next year, which could lead to an opticians test for the disease. Currently, scientists have to rely on MRI scans or post-mortems to investigate what happens inside the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. In the new technique, cells show up as green dots as they absorb fluorescent dye. The test could help scientists to see how the disease progresses by comparing retinal cell death a few weeks apart. Francesca Coredeiro, lead author from University College London Institute of Ophthalmology, told the BBC: “Few people realise that the retina is a direct, albeit thin, extension of the brain. “It is entirely possible that in the future a visit to an optician to check on your eyesight will also be a check on the state of your brain. “I hope that screening for Alzheimer’s will be available within five years.”


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