First Signs of Alzheimer’s May Appear in the Eyes, Study Shows

Florida: The first sign of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may appear in the eyes, according to a recent study. Researchers have been exploring how the eye may help in diagnosing Alzheimer’s before symptoms begin.

Dr. Richard Isaacson, an Alzheimer’s preventive neurologist, said that the disease begins in the brain decades before the first symptoms of memory loss. Dr. Isaacson said if doctors are able to identify Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages, people can then make healthy lifestyle choices and control their modifiable risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, as per the report.

To better understand the pathological features of the disease in the retina, researchers conducted an extensive histopathological and biochemical investigation of postmortem retina and brain tissues from 86 human donors.

The study said that a quantitative examination of superior and inferior temporal retinas from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s patients compared to those with normal cognition (NC) revealed significant increases in amyloid β-protein (Aβ42) forms and novel intraneuronal Aβ oligomers (AβOi), which were closely associated with exacerbated retinal macrogliosis, microgliosis, and tissue atrophy.

The study also pointed out that female patients exhibited higher levels of retinal microgliosis than males. Proteomic analysis of Alzheimer’s retinas revealed activation of specific inflammatory and neurodegenerative processes and inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation/mitochondrial, and photoreceptor-related pathways.

In a statement, author Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, a professor of neurosurgery and biomedical sciences at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, said that the study is the first to provide an in-depth analyses of the protein profiles and the molecular, cellular, and structural effects of the disease in the human retina and how they correspond with changes in the brain and cognitive function.

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