The Eyes Could Be The Window To Alzheimer's Disease, New Study Finds

Pearl Mccarthy
March 14, 2019

IBM also claims that amid the wide range of other proposed blood tests for Alzheimer's disease that are now being developed, this is the first study to use machine learning to identify sets of proteins in the blood that are predictive of a biomarker in spinal fluid.

Conversely, in the eyes of 39 people with Alzheimer's disease, that web was less dense and even sparse in places. The differences in density were statistically significant after researchers controlled for factors like age, gender, and level of education. "The very earliest changes in the brain can appear up to 20 years before we see clinical symptoms, so the holy grail would be to identify and treat people the moment these changes start". It enables physicians to see the smallest blood vessels in the back of the eye that are smaller than the width of a human hair.

"The company's Australian arm, IBM Research, Australia, undertook a research and published its findings in journal Scientific Reports".

Standard optical equipment is not now strong enough to detect the vessels, which are about half the width of a strand of hair, but they did have success using a non-invasive technology called optical coherence demography and geography.

IBM claims that they used machine learning to identify a set of specific proteins in the blood which can predict the concentration of amyloid-beta in spinal fluid.

Prof Fekrat and colleagues said diagnosing Alzheimer's is a challenge. Results could be helpful in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

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Now diagnosing Alzheimer's is tricky, requiring an expensive brain scan, a risky spinal tap or in most cases a behavioural assessment by a doctor based on symptoms.

It would also give patients time to plan for the future with their families - while they still have their faculties, said the United States team.

"Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is a huge unmet need", Dr. Fekrat said. OCTA machines use light waves that reveal blood flow in every layer of the retina. "It's not possible for current techniques like a brain scan or lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to screen the number of patients with this disease".

If we can detect these blood vessel changes in the retina before any changes in cognition, that would be a game changer'.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, and affects as many as 5 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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