Identifying the genetic risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the eyes
It appears that the eyes can be used to identify people who have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A retinal examination can help draw conclusions about Alzheimer’s risk.
A new study involving experts from the Complutense University of Madrid examined the correlations between the macular volumes of the retinal layers and the thickness of the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer in the eye with brain area parameters in people at high genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The results were published in the English-language journal “Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy”.
Connections between the retina and brain structures
The aim of the new study was to determine the connections between the retinal areas and the brain structures most affected in Alzheimer’s disease, explain the researchers.
For this, 30 people with no family history of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, non-carriers of ApoE ɛ4 and serving as a control group were examined. There was also a group of 34 participants with a family history of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease and carriers of at least one ɛ4 allele (ApoE ɛ4+).
Participants underwent eye exams, including what is called optical coherence tomography. Their findings were then compared to results from magnetic resonance imaging, which recorded more than 20 different brain structures in both hemispheres.
Besides the structure of the retina, the researchers also collect data on the participants’ vision in order to find out how the visual network is influenced in the still asymptomatic phases of the disease.
What brain structures were affected?
Experts found that in participants who were cognitively healthy but at high genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, there were correlations between the retina and various brain structures altered by the disease. The team cites as examples: the entorhinal cortex, the lingual gyrus and the hippocampus.
Retina provides information about the state of the brain
“This means that the retina, which is an easily accessible tissue, can provide information about the state of the brain and the changes taking place there,” study author Inés López-Cuenca explains in a press release. hurry.
Changes in the retina before the brain changes?
“We saw that participants already show changes in certain areas of the retina measured with optical coherence tomography, while magnetic resonance imaging of the brain is still normal,” reports López-Cuenca. The retina therefore seems particularly well suited to the early detection of the disease. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Inés López-Cuenca, Alberto Marcos-Dolado, Miguel Yus-Fuertes, Elena Salobrar-García, Lorena Elvira-Hurtado, et al. : The relationship between retinal layers and brain areas in asymptomatic first-degree relatives of sporadic forms of Alzheimer’s disease: an exploratory analysis; in: Alzheimer s Research & Therapy (published 04/06/2022), Alzheimer s Research & TherapyUniversidad Complutense de Madrid: Changes in the retina may be linked to parts of the brain of healthy subjects at risk of Alzheimer’s (published 2022). 26/07/ 2022), Complutense University of Madrid
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.