Australian researchers have recently developed a world-first eye scan technology that can detect changes in the retina and predict the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
The research is led by Associate Professor Peter van Wijngaarden and Dr Xavier Hadoux from the Centre for Eye Research Australia and University of Melbourne in Australia.
How does it work?
The eye scan identifies patients with increased levels of amyloid beta, a protein which accumulates in the brain as well as the retina of patients with Alzheimer’s disease as early as 20 years prior to the first signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
What makes this important?
Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and the ability to identify patients that will most likely develop Alzheimer’s later on in life allows early prevention and treatment of this disease. This will reduce its prevalence and effect on patients overall.
Why is it better than traditional methods?
This eye scan technology is fast, cheap, easily accessible and most importantly non-invasive unlike the current methods utilized to detect Alzheimer’s. The currently existing methods are spinal fluid tests via lumbar puncture or brain positron emission topography scans which require a radioactive tracer to be injected into a patient for it to work. These tests are generally reserved for clinical trials and are rarely completed due to high cost and lack of accessibility.
We’re hopeful that this innovation will be coming soon to our practices. We will keep you updated.