Can an eye exam detect Alzheimer’s?

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(Samiha Khanna-Duke/ Futurity) — The loss of blood vessels in the retina could signal Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests. That means a quick eye exam might flag the disease before symptoms appear.

In people with healthy brains, microscopic blood vessels form a dense web at the back of the eye inside the retina, as seen in 133 participants in a control group.

In the eyes of 39 people with Alzheimer’s disease, however, that web was less dense and even sparse in places. The differences in density were statistically significant after researchers controlled for factors including age, sex, and level of education, says Sharon Fekrat, an ophthalmologist and retinal surgeon at Duke University and senior author of the study, which appears in the journal Ophthalmology Retina. (…)

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