Eye tests may give early warning of Alzheimer's

Alicia Farmer
March 14, 2019

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. The differences in density were statistically significant after researchers controlled for factors including age, sex, and level of education.

They found that the blood vessel network was less dense in the Alzheimer's patients compared with the other groups.

Potentially the test could spot warning signs of Alzheimer's before vascular abnormalities show up on brain scans, which can only highlight larger blood vessels, she added. A specific layer of the retina was also thinner.

The eye scan used in the study could reveal changes in tiny capillaries, most less than half the width of a human hair, before blood vessel changes show up on a brain scan, according to the study. The findings suggest that a loss of blood vessels in the retina could be an marker of the debilitating disease.

Ophthalmologist and senior author Sharon Fekrat, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmology at Duke, along with lead author Dilraj Grewal, M.D., Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Duke, expect that their work may one day have a positive impact on patients' lives.

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In an online publication obtained on Monday, Goudey explained that Alzheimer has been diagnosed to be the cause of dementia - a decline in thinking and person's pattern of behaviour.

Early diagnosis will allow researchers to administer them sooner in the disease process which may lead to better results. These concentrations in the spinal fluid have been found to increase the chances that the disease progresses by 2.5 times.

It would also give patients time to plan for the future with their families - while they still have their faculties, said the USA team. But such techniques to study the brain are invasive and costly. More than 500,000 people in Britain suffer from Alzheimer's and the total is rising, but most are diagnosed too late to do anything about it.

"But future studies need to focus on earlier stages of the disease", Isaacson said in an email.

The study examined the blood flow at the back of the retina of over 200 participants using a non-invasive imaging technology known as optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA).

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