Variations in Eye Structure and Function May Mean You Will Get Alzheimer's

Who isn't afraid of Alzheimer's? Since I hang out now with a lot of people of "a certain age," it's something that's talked about a lot.

Now a new study is saying that variations in eye structure and function may reveal early signs of this dreaded disease.

According to newswise.com, "Investigators at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute have discovered eye abnormalities that may help reveal features of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Using a novel laboratory rat model of Alzheimer’s disease and high-resolution imaging techniques, researchers correlated variations of the eye structure, to identify initial indicators of the disease."

“Detecting changes in the brain that indicate Alzheimer’s disease can be an extremely challenging task,” the Web site quotes Shaomei Wang, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Regenerative Medicine Institute and Department of Biomedical Sciences. “By using the eye as a window to brain activity and function, we may be able to diagnose patients sooner and give them more time to prepare for the future."

With high-resolution, microscopic imaging and visual acuity measurements, investigators were able to monitor tissue degeneration in the cell layer and vascular layer at the back of the eye, as well as decline in visual function, that were strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease.

“Greater magnitude in these eye abnormalities may mean a greater chance of a patient having Alzheimer’s disease,” said Alexander Ljubimov, PhD, director of the Eye Programwithin the Regenerative Medicine Institute and co-author of the study. “We found that a rat model showed similar signs to the human ailment in the eye. If true in a larger number of humans, these findings may be used to study Alzheimer’s disease mechanisms and test potential drugs.”

Researchers are finding more and more of what they consider early signs leading to this disease, such as not sleeping enough or even concussions.  Hopefully, they're on the track of finding ways to reverse it, too.



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