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Eye test may help detect Alzheimer

Washington: A simple eye test may soon help detect signs of Alzheimer`s disease, say scientists who claim that early results from their research seem to be quite encouraging.

However, the eye test is experimental and needs more research, though Alzheimer`s is said to cause changes in the eyes, not just the brain, says the team led by Australia`s national science agency CSIRO.

Nearly 35 million people worldwide are said to be suffering from Alzheimer`s, the most common form of dementia.

The latest eye test involved taking photographs of blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer lining the back of the eyes, of some 136 people, say the scientists.

"Most eye doctors have the cameras used for this, but it takes a special computer programme to measure blood vessels for the experimental test doctors are using in the Alzheimer`s research," team leader Shaun Frost was quoted by the US media as saying.

In their research, the team took photos of retinas of 110 healthy adults, 13 individuals suffering from Alzheimer`s and 13 others with mild form of the disease. They compared the snaps subsequently.

The findings revealed that widths of certain blood vessels in those suffering from Alzheimer`s disease were quite different from vessels in others and the amount of difference matched the amount of plaque seen on brain scans.

"More study is planned on larger groups to see how accurate the test might be," Frost said.

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