Scientists Hope Simple Eye Scans Could Detect Alzheimer's

Posted on July 25, 2006

The BBC reports that scientists have discovered that infrared lights could be used to identify people with very early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Scientists have developed a test that checks for deposits of beta-amyloid. Early tests have been successful in mice.

During the trial, a brief pulse of infrared light into the eyes of four mice with Alzheimer's and four without accurately identified which had the condition.

Dr Goldstein and his team envisage the test could be used to detect the disease at its earliest stages as well as to track disease progression and monitor how people respond to Alzheimer's treatments.

Currently there is no simple test to make a diagnosis of dementia and it can only be confirmed with certainty by looking at someone's brain in a post-mortem examination.

The scientists believe the technology, known as quasi-elastic light scattering, may detect the very earliest stages of amyloid deposits in the lens, even when they appear completely clear to the naked eye.

It might help with prevention and finding a cure if doctors are able to diagnose alzheimer's in its very early stages. However, it would also be very alarming to have such a serious diagnosis from a simple eye exam.

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