It is difficult to diagnose Alzheimer disease early in its course. In fact, a definitive diagnosis has only been available upon autopsy. But what if you had a window to your brain? Would that make early diagnosis easier?
Your Eyes Are the Window to Your Brain:
Now, scientists have found markers of the disease that can be seen in the retina (AAO 2018, Chicago, IL Oct. 28, 2018). The back of the eye starts to show changes even before people notice serious memory loss.
The non-invasive test called optical coherence tomography angiography could be done by an ophthalmologist. Impressively, this test is able to distinguish between people with mild cognitive impairment and those who progress to Alzheimer disease. In Alzheimer disease, the retina has fewer blood vessels and the inner layer is thinner.
Who Did the Research?
These observations were made independently by two separate teams of researchers. Drs. Sharon Fekrat And Dilraj Grewal, in the Department of Ophthalmology at Duke University, say the scan would take only seconds. The other study was led by Dr. Ygal Rotenstreich at the Goldschleger Eye Institute at Sheba Medical Center in Israel. Both teams presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In conclusion, early diagnosis using the eyes as the window to your brain would permit earlier intervention to slow or prevent cognitive decline.