Thanks to genetically manufactured mice, research team scientists have discovered that a loss in thickness of their retinal layers is evident in those with Alzheimer's. Specific cell anomalies in the retina, which is a direct extension of the brain, could help specialists to diagnose and track the progressive nature of the condition.
The findings were revealed at the US Society for Neuroscience conference.
Should the research prove successful and, the relevant tools be developed, it is hopeful that in the not too distant future, Alzheimer's will be detected from a normal eye health check. It is evident that this investigation of cell changes in the retina could also assist in the management and detection of other neurodegenerative diseases such a glaucoma.
In particular the areas investigated were the inner nuclear layer and the retinal ganglion cell layer which had not been previously looked at.
It was stressed that it was still speculative to say that retinal thinning may predict impending Alzheimer's disease.