Posted on Jul 26, 2016, 6 a.m.
What do your eyes have to do with the development of Alzheimer’s disease? A lot, according to scientists.
Research scientists are nearing a major breakthrough that may help in detecting the progression of Alzheimer’s. The new technology will allow medical professionals to look in the back of the eyes, for signs of Alzheimer’s before any symptoms occur. Clinical trials are expected to begin soon, according to a new paper source. The document, called “Early detection of amyloidopathy in Alzheimer’s mice by hyperspectral endoscopy,” is an expansion of pervious work performed in working with cells. The work cites the detection of changes in the retina of mice, which were exposed to the disease intentionally. Researchers conclude that early detection of the disease is crucial for two main reasons.
The first concern for early detection concludes that effective treatment need to begin well before the first onset of neurological signs. The second concern reintegrates the fact that current drugs are not accurate or cannot be used in testing the effectiveness of the early onset of Alzheimer’s. Scientists do believe that their creation of an early diagnostic tool could be instrumental in the development of drugs. Looking through the eye of the disease, to see the brain is a main advantage of the newly found technology. What makes this all so exciting, is that the retina of the eye is connected to the brain, and the central part of the nervous system. The nervous system is the hardest hit area when Alzheimer’s is present. With an opportunity to look at the disease from the inside out, scientists can gain access to the retina, and make observations, as to how the brain changes in real- time.
How Positive Changes Look
According to the author, Swati More, PhD, changes in the eyes retinas of mice with Alzheimer’s could be seen, before the normal time in which neurological signs are present. These results reveal the closest and perhaps the most accurate case scenario for expected outcomes, associated with this new technology. Researchers are hoping that the model will help them identify new techniques to aid in enhancing the function of the brain, in patients diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s. This new technology could prolong brain function, and delay severe or disabling symptoms, which leaves patients incapacitated.
Ugly Truth about Alzheimer’s
Despite the conversations people have about Alzheimer’s, the facts remains the same. The disease plagues millions of people nationwide, and contributes to mental and physical disabilities. People with this disease are no longer lively, they fail to thrive, and they lose their cognitive skills. The once sharp memory is no more, and memories of yesterday are no longer intact.
The latest reports from the Alzheimer’s Association for 2016 states that more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and it is the 6th leading cause of death. This year alone, treatment for patients with the disease will cost $236 billion dollars, and caregivers spend more than $5,000 per year on care. The facts reveal that Alzheimer’s disease cause more death than breast and prostate cancer combined, and by the year 2050, medical care will rise to a cruel $1 trillion dollars.
Swati S. More, James M. Beach, Robert Vince. Early Detection of Amyloidopathy in Alzheimer's Mice by Hyperspectral Endoscopy. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, 2016; 57 (7): 3231 DOI: 10.1167/iovs.15-17406