NeuroVision eye test trialled as a screening tool for Alzheimer’s disease

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According to a press release, researchers in Perth, Australia, are trialling a NeuroVision eye test as a screening tool for Alzheimer’s disease in conjunction with MRI and PET imaging. 

Yogi Kanagasingam, ocular imaging at CSIRO’s Preventative Health Flagship said: “If this test works, then one day screening for Alzheimer’s disease may be as simple as getting your eyes checked”. The trial is a collaboration between CSIRO, Edith Cowan University, McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation and California-based NeuroVision Imaging.

Ralph Martins, a researcher in Alzheimer’s disease, is co-lead in the research which is being conducted at the McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation in Perth, Australia. The project is part of the Australian Imaging and Biomarkers Lifestyle Study of Aging (AIBL), which has 1,000 volunteers who are making a valuable contribution to Alzheimer’s research, according to the release.

The aim of the trial is to examine if the NeuroVision test can detect people on the pathway to Alzheimer’s disease. Lance Macaulay, theme leader for Brain Health in CSIRO’s Preventative Health Flagship, said, “Recent research with our AIBL partners shows that Alzheimer’s disease develops slowly. Clinically, it is only possible to detect the disease late in its development, when significant brain damage has already occurred. Using brain PET imaging, we can show the build-up of the amyloid-beta protein as plaques in the brain, 17 years before symptoms appear. With NeuroVision, we hope to be able to pick up these same changes in the retina of the eye, through a non-invasive and inexpensive test. The ability to detect disease early will markedly increase eligibility and opportunities for new drug intervention trials, aimed at preventing or delaying disease onset and accelerating the development of these new treatments. To do this, we need a test that is suitable for screening large numbers of people and identifying those who have early biochemical markers of Alzheimer’s disease. We see the eye test as a potential initial screen that could compliment currently used brain PET, MRI imaging and clinical psychometric tests. It could be delivered as part of people’s regular eye check-ups“.