Your eyes can show early warning for Alzheimer’s disease, study confirms

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In a recent study from the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, researchers found how an imaging technique that measures blood flow in the back of the eye may offer a noninvasive way to detect early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The study is published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.  One author is Amir Kashani, M.D., Ph.D.

The study involved 13 people with a rare, genetically inherited form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease marked by mutations identified in three genes.

This form of familial Alzheimer’s disease affects approximately 1% of all patients with the condition.

Using an imaging technology called optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA), the researchers took images of blood vessels in the back of the eyes of study participants with and without the mutation leading to the familial form of Alzheimer’s disease.

They also cataloged the disease stage for people with Alzheimer’s and the cognitive abilities of both groups.

The researchers found that abnormal blood flow through the smallest vessels at the back of the eye correlated with the mutation status of people at risk for the familial form of Alzheimer’s disease.

Patients with the Alzheimer’s-causing mutations who had no signs of disease had abnormally high and heterogeneous blood flow in their retinal capillaries.

The researchers believe this may be a sign of the early inflammatory changes involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

They say these data support the belief that changes in the eye can demonstrate the earliest signs of brain disease before symptoms are present.

With further evidence from larger studies over time, they believe that the method could offer clinicians a tool for earlier diagnosis and enable intervention to slow cognitive decline in patients.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about what you should know about extra-virgin olive oil and Alzheimer’s disease and findings of a new cause of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about dementia prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about this high blood pressure drug may help treat dementia and Parkinson’s and results showing that common prostate cancer treatment linked to dementia.

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