Eye Test Spots Alzheimer's
Dead nerve cells in the retina could signal dementia's onset
By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2010 2:48 PM CST
An eye test may help detect Alzheimer's.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – British scientists have developed an eye test they claim can identify the early stages of Alzheimer's. The researchers found that dead nerve cells in the retina correlate to damage in the brain to such a degree that tests for retinal damage could detect Alzheimer's. "Few people realize that the retina is a direct, albeit thin, extension of the brain," says the lead researcher. The test is in human trials now and could be available in 2 years.

The test is performed by applying eye drops that mark dying nerve cells in the retina. The markers can be detected by taking an infrared photo of the eye—the scientists say more than 20 could signal the early onset of Alzheimer's. "The study of this disease has been hampered by the difficulty of following the progress directly in the human brain," the head of the Alzheimer's Society tells the Telegraph. "This research is very exciting."


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Showing 3 of 12 comments
gwensherwood
Mar 7, 2010 1:50 PM CST
Early detection is very important to early treatment. The patient can have a say in treatment options. Current drugs work best in the early stages. Future medication may prevent irreversible damage. But prevention is equally as important, if not more important than early detection. It is possible to delay the onset of cognitive dementia and Alzheimer's disease through brain training. Gwen Sherwood http://www.brainreview.info/po...
chas_m
Jan 16, 2010 2:11 AM CST
Yes. What a pity you don't live in a civilised country with guaranteed healthcare for all.
brawne
Jan 15, 2010 12:15 PM CST
pg13 hit the nail on the head. No one wants to know that--even the first guy who had his DNA unraveled--look it up--said that he didn't want to know about the A-gene. So, who benefits from knowing that? As for the test--totally buy it. The best doctors are ophthalmologists. Seriously, they have the highest grades in medical school and good memories. If you can't get a diagnosis, go to one. Cause even if it isn't your eyes--they can diagnosis anything. It's a high-paying specialty that never has to work nights or weekends--duh? Next is radiologists. West Point used to do what medical schools do--let the highest achievers pick their careers. That is why the army was so screwed in 1941--all the best guys wanted the Philippines cause it was easy duty, and you could get a maid for a dollar a week. That's how Ike made it up to five stars even though he was the last in his class and went to Quartermaster which is the medical equivalent of Gynecology. Sometimes, things just work out, and that was a war that needed a quartermaster who knew how to get shit to the front more than it needed a tactician. Ask Mc Arthur who was number one in his class.