Finding inexpensive non-invasive tests to detect early Alzheimer’s is a major goal for many research groups. A very promising route is to use eye scans since the retina, exposed at the back of eye, is actually part of the central nervous system. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles have taken that route, and have developed a scanning mechanism, similar to standard ophthalmic instruments, which can examine the retina and determine the amount of retinal plaque — similar to brain plaque seemingly involved in Alzheimer’s — present in the retina. Promising trials correlating the amount of retinal plaque present with the amount of brain plaque present are underway, where the amount of brain plaque is estimated by means of (expensive and difficult) PET scans.
Here are links to three media articles about the work:
Can this eye scan detect Alzheimer’s years in advance?
Clinical study shows that retinal imaging may detect signs of Alzheimer’s disease
Cedars-Sinai Device May Provide Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease
And here is a link to the main research article:
Retinal amyloid pathology and proof-of-concept imaging trial in Alzheimer’s disease
It’s interesting to note that a similar approach has been developed for early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease:
Eye test may detect Parkinson’s before symptoms appear
All links are contained in Alzheimer’s > Diagnosis & Tests