Health Shorts: Detecting Alzheimer's with eye scans?

Alzheimer’s dementia is marked by the development of beta-amyloid plaques that damage brain cells and interrupt communication between cells. But even with sophisticated imaging technologies, these plaques do not show up on brain scans.

In one recent study using autopsies, researchers found beta-amyloid plaques not only in the brains but also in the retinas of deceased Alzheimer’s patients. These plaques also were found in the retinas of persons suspected of having early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Further laboratory studies with mice have given scientists the hope that retinal scans may someday be helpful in early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

[SOURCE: NeuroImage, June 13, 2010; presentation at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s disease, July 13, 2010]
 

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Last Updated August 11, 2010