Retinal imaging developed for Alzheimer’s Detection

Retinal imaging developed for Alzheimer’s Detection

A system called retinal imaging has been developed to detect early Alzheimer’s disease. This design was made a reality by a team of researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and also NeuroVision Imaging, a Sacramento, California firm.

For knowledge sake, Alzheimer's is seen as a type of dementia that affects the human memory, thinking and behavior. The outcome of this disease is usually a memory loss which can impede the affected person's day to day activities.

The critical stage at which Alzheimer's disease can affect a person is when it accumulates beta-amyloid protein in the brain. The accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the nervous system can be checked through cerebrospinal fluid analysis, or imaging techniques like positron emission tomography.  The above mentioned methods are expensive for routine screening to assess disease progression.

According to Keith Black, a researcher who was involved in the study,
we know that Alzheimer’s begins as many as 10 or 20 years before cognitive decline becomes evident, and we believe that potential treatments may be more effective if they can be started early in the process. Therefore, screening and early detection may be crucial to our efforts to turn the tide against the growing threat of this devastating disease.
Retinal imaging developed for Alzheimer’s Detection

To cut down on the cost of routine screening to assess disease progression, the team of researchers came up with a new method to detect beta-amyloid protein in the retina by making use of a specialized ophthalmic camera and sophisticated image-processing software to conduct fluorescence imaging.

The Researchers claimed that using their method, checking the progress of Alzheimer's disease will be less invasive and may end up helping tremendously in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Mr. Black also added that
as a developmental outgrowth of the central nervous system that shares many of the brain’s characteristics, the retina may offer a unique opportunity for us to easily and conveniently detect and monitor Alzheimer’s disease.


The Retinal imaging system was tested in a small clinic  to see if they could identify beta-amyloid in the retina using the technique. The testing was a success after  finding an average of 4.7-fold increase in beta-amyloid plaques in the retinas of patients with Alzheimer’s, giving the suggestion that the technique could be useful to find people at risk of the disease, or to monitor those who already have it.

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