Use Of Non-Invasive Optical Imaging For Early Detection Of Alzheimer’s Disease

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A noninvasive optical imaging device has been developed by the innovators at Cedars-Sinai that is capable of detecting early pathological changes in the setting of degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. The results are drawn from the preliminary investigations of clinical study that was conducted in Australia.

With the help of this new technique, onset or early changes of Alzheimer’s disease will be detected as early as 15 to 20 years in advance of the clinical symptoms of illness. This early testing can help change the course of the disease, said Shaun Frost, a biomedical scientist at CSIRO.

The results of this remarkable study were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2014 that was held in Copenhagen, Denmark on July 15th, 2014.

The beta-amyloid plaque accumulation is the main pathophysiological event that leads to widespread degeneration of grey matter – hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The existing tests are expensive and not very efficient at the detection of early changes. Positron emission tomography is the current diagnostic test which requires the use of radioactive tracers. Other therapeutic modalities include cerebrospinal fluid analysis and painful lumbar punctures, said Keith Black.

These plaques don’t only accumulate in the brain but also have a propensity to get accumulated in the retina that may compromise the visual acuity. This can be easily spotted by curcumin (a component of turmeric). The device is able to detect retinal diseases too.

These studies were performed in rodents and other animal models. Scientists also studied the components from the dead bodies of people who died from advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui and Yosef Koronyo are the principal investigators and first authors of the research report. After the release of the breakthrough findings, investigators are planning to continue their research to see if similar results can be produced in other study subjects.

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