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Eye test may help diagnose Alzheimer's
Researchers in Australia look at changes in the eye to determine what's going on in the brain.
Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Researchers in Australia have discovered some interesting findings that may help doctors diagnose Alzheimer's disease more accurately and easily.
Early results from a simple eye test are promising and raising hope for doctors that they have found a simple and noninvasive way to detect signs of Alzheimer's. The eye study involved photographing blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer in the back of the eyes.
Eye doctors often look at the back of the eye when they dilate your eyes during an exam. But for this test, a special computer program would be required to measure blood vessels to determine changes. According to researchers from Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, the widths of certain blood vessels in those with Alzheimer's are different from the blood vessels in those without the disease. The degree of difference matched the amount of plaque seen on brain scans.
The Australian study was small — researchers looked at the retinal blood vessels of just 126 people — but the results are certainly promsing. An eye test for Alzheimer's would give doctors a simple and noninvasive method for diagnosing Alzheimer's and may even give them an early start at treatment.
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