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'Snapshots' of eyes could serve as early warning of diabetes
Date:7/14/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich. A new vision screening device, already shown to give an early warning of eye disease, could give doctors and patients a head start on treating diabetes and its vision complications, a new study shows.

The instrument, invented by two scientists at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, captures images of the eye to detect metabolic stress and tissue damage that occur before the first symptoms of disease are evident.

For people with diabetes diagnosed or not the new device could offer potentially significant advantages over blood glucose testing, the "gold standard" for diabetes detection.

The device takes a specialized photograph of the eye and is non-invasive, taking about five minutes to test both eyes.

In the July issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, Victor M. Elner, M.D., Ph.D., and Howard R. Petty, Ph.D., report on the potential of the new instrument to screen for diabetes and determine its severity. If further testing confirms the results to date, the new instrument may be useful for screening people who are at risk of diabetes but haven't been diagnosed.

"Our objective in performing this study was to determine whether we could detect abnormal metabolism in the retina of patients who might otherwise remain undiagnosed based on clinical examination alone," says Elner, professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at U-M Medical School.

Metabolic stress, and therefore disease, can be detected by measuring the intensity of cellular fluorescence in retinal tissue. In a previous study, Petty and Elner reported that high levels of flavoprotein autofluorescence (FA) act as a reliable indicator of eye disease.

In their new study, Elner and Petty measured the FA levels of 21 individuals who had diabetes and compared the results to age-matched healthy controls. The Kellogg scientists found that FA activity was significantly higher for those with d
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Contact: Betsy Nisbet
bsnisbet@umich.edu
734-647-5586
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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