Eye test could help detect signs of Alzheimer's

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Research published in the journal Cell Death and Disease by University College of London scientists indicates that a simple eye test may, in future, be able to detect Alzheimer's, amongst other diseases.

Research published in the journal Cell Death and Disease by University College of London scientists indicates that a simple eye test may, in future, be able to detect Alzheimer's, amongst other diseases.

Professor Francesca Coredeiro, lead author from University College London Institute of Ophthalmology told the BBC: "Few people realise that the retina is a direct, albeit thin, extension of the brain.

“It is entirely possible that in the future a visit to a high-street optician to check on your eyesight will also be a check on the state of your brain.”

“I hope that screening for Alzheimer's will be available on the high street within five years.”

In a statement the Alzheimer Society said: “We know as Alzheimer's disease develops, cells in the brain die and the brain shrinks. The study of this disease has been hampered by the difficulty of following the progress directly in the human brain. This research is very exciting as it opens up the possibility of observing individual cells on the human retina using a relatively non-invasive procedure. In the longer term this technique could be used for diagnostic purposes or to help researchers monitor the effects of drugs under development. However, much more research needs to be done before we know if we can get to this stage.

“A million people will develop dementia in the next 10 years yet research remains drastically underfunded. If we can delay the onset of dementia by five years we can halve the number of people who will die with the disease.”

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