Study suggests loss of blood vessels in retina reflect changes in brain health
A quick eye exam might one day allow eye doctors to check up on both your eyeglasses prescription and your brain health.
A study of more than 200 people at the Duke Eye Center published March 11 in the journal Ophthalmology Retina suggests the loss of blood vessels in the retina could signal Alzheimer’s disease.
In people with healthy brains, microscopic blood vessels form a dense web at the back of the eye inside the retina, as seen in 133 participants in a control group.
In the eyes of 39 people with Alzheimer’s disease, that web was less dense and even sparse in places. The differences in density were statistically significant after researchers controlled for factors including age, sex, and level of education, said Duke ophthalmologist and retinal surgeon Sharon Fekrat, M.D., the study’s senior author.
“We’re measuring blood vessels that can’t be seen during a regular eye exam and we’re doing that with relatively new noninvasive technology that takes high-resolution images of very small blood vessels within the retina in just a few minutes,” she said. “It’s possible that these changes in blood vessel density in the retina could mirror what’s going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, perhaps before we are able to detect any changes in cognition.”
The study found differences in the retinas of those with Alzheimer’s disease when compared to healthy people and to those with mild cognitive impairment, often a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.
With nearly 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and no viable treatments or noninvasive tools for early diagnosis, its burden on families and the economy is heavy. Scientists at Duke Eye Center and beyond have studied other changes in the retina that could signal trouble upstream in the brain, such as thinning of some of the retinal nerve layers.
“We know that there are changes that occur in the brain in the small blood vessels in people with Alzheimer’s disease, and because the retina is an extension of the brain, we wanted to investigate whether these changes could be detected in the retina using a new technology that is less invasive and easy to obtain,” said Dilraj S. Grewal, M.D., a Duke ophthalmologist and retinal surgeon and a lead author on the study. The Duke study used a noninvasive technology called optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA). OCTA machines use light waves that reveal blood flow in every layer of the retina.
An OCTA scan could even reveal changes in tiny capillaries — most less than half the width of a human hair — before blood vessel changes show up on a brain scan such as an MRI or cerebral angiogram, which highlight only larger blood vessels. Such techniques to study the brain are invasive and costly.
“Ultimately, the goal would be to use this technology to detect Alzheimer’s early, before symptoms of memory loss are evident, and be able to monitor these changes over time in participants of clinical trials studying new Alzheimer’s treatments,” Fekrat said.
The Latest on: Brain health
via Google News
The Latest on: Brain health
- The role of adenosine in neurodegeneration and brain regenerationon December 8, 2019 at 9:13 am
They consider these concepts in the setting of their relevance to brain regeneration. Ana Sebastião ... Chief of the Integrative Neurobiology Section at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National ...
- What foods contain lots of antioxidants help keep your heart healthy?on December 8, 2019 at 6:37 am
The Bel Marra Foundation has provided healthy food topics for a healthy heart and brain and some healthy tips. Every year there is World Health Day and it celebrates the founding of the World Health ...
- Brain injury from domestic abuse a 'public health crisis,' says B.C. researcheron December 8, 2019 at 5:02 am
The mother said it would have been “life changing” if first responders, hospital staff and even family members had been aware of the effects of a potential brain injury from domestic violence and ...
- Inculcating healthy habits can help your brain tackle stresson December 8, 2019 at 12:22 am
Wellington [New Zealand], Dec 8 (ANI): Without having to consume alcohol or sugar, the brain can be trained to tackle stress by inculcating healthy habits, opined neuroscientist Dr Selena Bartlett.
- Improving blood vessel health in brain may help combat Alzheimer'son December 7, 2019 at 8:37 am
If we direct therapeutic strategies towards promoting healthy vasculature and therefore improve clearance of amyloid-beta from the brain, we may be able to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's ...
- ‘The Only Way To Eradicate Mental Illness Is To Talk About It’: Insights On Brain Health From The 2019 Forbes Healthcare Summiton December 7, 2019 at 6:48 am
(Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images) Diseases of the brain continue to be taboo. Most stigmatized of all? Addiction and mental illness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people with ...
- Lion's Mane: How the Mushroom Can Boost Brain Healthon December 6, 2019 at 7:06 pm
It may help relieve anxiety and depression In addition to its brain-boosting capabilities, lion's mane has also been found to have ... Lion's mane may help boost mood and boost memory, for those with ...
- CHI St. Luke’s Health-The Woodlands’ doctor performs brain aneurysm treatmenton December 5, 2019 at 1:10 pm
Jeremiah Johnson, MD and Chief of Endovascular Neurosurgery at CHI St. Luke's Health-The Woodlands performed the first brain aneurysm treatment in North Houston using the new WEB (Woven EndoBridge) ...
- Exercise for Better Brain Healthon December 4, 2019 at 12:35 pm
People who exercised on a regular basis ranked their brain health higher than those who didn't exercise. En español | Most of us don't get enough exercise, and we have any number of excuses. Too tired ...
- Improving blood vessel health in the brain may help combat Alzheimer'son December 3, 2019 at 8:02 am
"Our findings highlight the importance of the vasculature in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease. If we direct therapeutic strategies towards promoting healthy vasculature and therefore improve ...
via Bing News