Could An Eye Exam Catch Early-Stage Alzheimer’s?

Without a doubt, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the cruelest diseases known to man. And now, researchers say they were able to spot Alzheimer’s in the eyes of lab mice using a special type of camera.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design published their findings in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences.

Obviously, that paper is heavy on academic jargon, so here’s the gist: Researchers flashed light in the mice’s eyes, then analyzed the light patterns that reflected off the retinas. According to The Consumerist, “They were then able to visualize clear patterns of changes suggesting the eventual development of the disease, because the patterns would change as amyloid plaque built up. Deposits of such protein are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The Center is searching for human test participants, too.

“We are very excited about moving this study into Phase I human trials,” said Swati More, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Center for Drug Design. “We have had great success with animal models and believe the technology is very promising for humans as well.