Can an Eye Exam diagnose Alzheimer? Apparently…yes!
It would mean great news if this latest research turns out to be 100% trustworthy. The sooner they can introduce it to society, the better. Alzheimer disease is a cruel condition and although no cure has been found, knowing if you or a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer, can help you gain quality time to spend with your family before it gets really bad. The research took place at the University of Minnesota. They were able to find out that through an eye exam someone could be diagnosed with Alzheimer years before the first signs appear. This new discovery opens doors to the creation of better medication, and treatment to be able to treat this condition in time and hopefully preventing it.
The team of researchers used lab mice in the investigation. First they used a spectral imaging system that they designed with a machine vision camera and tunable wavelength. With this device they were able to measure the light off the mice retinas. Mice with and without Alzheimer were used in the research. By testing the difference in the amount of light that reflected off each of the different mice groups, they noticed that the retinas on mice with Alzheimer would reflect much less amount of light than those of healthy mice.
This breakthrough is extremely important because up until now the diagnosis for this silent killer mainly comes when the person begins to experience the actual signs on the condition. The only thing that has been proven to be right by scientists through the years is that there is a buildup of amyloidal plaque in the brain related to the progressive memory and cognitive skills deterioration.
The eyes are part of the central nervous system just as the brain; therefore it is highly possible that just as the way the brain is affected by Alzheimer’s, the retinas are affected too. The difference between the brain and the retinas is that changes are much simpler to come across because retinas are mucho more accessible for study and research. In theory, after recognizing that the light is reflected much less in the retinas of those with Alzheimer’s, the condition would be detected with enough time ahead.
"We saw changes in the retinas of Alzheimer's mice before the typical age at which neurological signs are observed," Dr. Swati More, an assistant professor at the Center for Drug Design, said. "The results are close to our best-case scenario for outcomes of this project."
There is still much to research in this breakthrough, however the future is looking extremely bright into turning this into an innovative way to determine years before someone begins showing signs of the disease. This month, the research will be done on humans and scientists are hopeful that the results will be as positive as the research done on mice. Although there is still much to be discovered about how to fight Alzheimer’s , this is a major climb in the process and is set to give a better view on how to go about winning against this condition.