An eye exam using non-invasive technology may one day be able to detect Alzheimer's disease potentially before any cognitive symptoms appear, according to a new study conducted by scientists at the Duke Eye Center, part of Duke University in North Carolia. In addition, a specific layer of the retina was thinner in those with Alzheimer's.
The findings were published online in the journal Ophthalmology Retina.
Brain Awareness Week, which occurs every March, is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. With any neurodegenerative disease you lose nerve tissue.
A new kind of precise and non-invasive imaging called optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) has assisted much of the recent research on the eye's connection with Alzheimer's. "Now we can look at blood vessels that are at the level of capillaries in the different layers of the retina".More news: Dark mode comes to Google Chrome on MacOS
The researchers scanned the eyes of 39 people with Alzheimer's disease, 37 people with mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to Alzheimer's, and 133 people without either of those diagnoses.
Because the retina is an extension of the brain and shares many similarities with the brain, researchers believe that the deterioration in the retina may mirror the changes going on in the blood vessels in the brain, thereby offering a window into the disease process.
IBM also claims that amid the wide range of other proposed blood tests for Alzheimer's disease that are now being developed, this is the first study to use machine learning to identify sets of proteins in the blood that are predictive of a biomarker in spinal fluid.
Although preliminary work in this small sampling yielded results that are very promising, it was noted further study making use of a larger sampling is required to validate their findings and to develop a saliva test for the disease.More news: Marvel Studios Taps Destin Creston To Direct 'Shang Chi' Film
The researcher explained that the method is still in the early phases of research.
She added: "We need to detect the disease earlier and introduce treatments earlier".
This research, when it comes into fruition, can help the field of medicine take one step forward to the potential of detecting Alzheimer's disease at a budding stage through machine learning, AI and technology.
If scientists could find people who have brain changes, but no obvious symptoms yet, there could be an opportunity to intervene, Abraham said in an email.More news: Embiid returning to action after eight-game absence