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Hallmark Alzheimer's disease changes found in retinas of humans and imaged in live animals
Date:6/24/2010

LOS ANGELES (June 24, 2010) The nerve cell-damaging plaque that builds up in the brain with Alzheimer's disease also builds up in the retinas of the eyes and it shows up there earlier, leading to the prospect that noninvasive optical imaging of the eyes could lead to earlier diagnosis, intervention and monitoring of the disease, according to new research.

Scientists discovered characteristic amyloid plaques in retinas from deceased Alzheimer's disease patients and used a noninvasive optical imaging technique to detect retinal plaques in live laboratory mice genetically modified to model the human disease. The combined results suggest the possibility that noninvasive retinal imaging may be helpful in early diagnosis of the disease.

The research was conducted by a team of scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in collaboration with colleagues from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the University of Southern California. Results were published online June 13 in the journal NeuroImage, and related findings will be presented July 13 at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a devastating condition that is becoming more prevalent worldwide as the baby-boom generation advances into its senior years, but there is no conclusive, noninvasive way to diagnose it. Previous studies have suggested that changes in the brain may begin years or even decades before symptoms occur emphasizing the need for earlier, reliable detection for early therapeutic intervention to achieve effective remedy. The new study suggests the possibility of monitoring Alzheimer's disease through a simple retinal imaging approach.

Abnormal deposits in the brain called beta-amyloid plaques, which damage cells and interrupt cell-to-cell communications, are recognized as a hallmark sign of the disease. However, because existing noninvasive brain-imaging technologies cannot provide s
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Contact: Sandy Van
sandy@prpacific.com
808-526-1708
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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