Simple eye test might diagnose Alzheimer
Experts confirm that “a simple eye test could diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders before symptoms appear”.
In the study, published Thursday in the new online journal Cell Death & Disease, doctors injected mice afflicted with an Alzheimer’s-like disease with two fluorescent dyes.
The dyes, markers for cell injury and death, lit up certain ailing nerve cells in the retina. The doctors, by using a widely available tool known as a confocal laser opthalmoscope, could look into the eyes of the mice to see how sick the cells were, and thus how far the disease had progressed, long before the animal would show any “clinical” symptoms.
Although marking dying retinal nerve cells with dyes has long been done in “test tube” studies, this is the first time the results have been shown in a living animal.
“What we really think we’re seeing are the early signs [of Alzheimer's],” says Francesca Cordeiro, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study, a professor of glaucoma and neurodegeneration studies at University College London, and an attending physician at the Western Eye Hospital in London. “These are the warning signs of the first processes of the disease that occur in the brain.”