New retinal biomarker for identifying early Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) have identified changes in retinal layer thickness, inflammation or thinning in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. These changes are identified with non invasive assessment using optical coherence tomography may be an important biomarker for early diagnosis.

Researchers observed that in some patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the retinal layers presented neurodegeneration, whereas in others they presented neuroinflammation, the stage prior to neurodegeneration, a finding which can be used to diagnose the disease before other tests.

The study was conducted with a group of 19 patients selected from 2124 clinical histories at the San Carlos Hospital Clinic Geriatric Service in Madrid. These patients had very early stage Alzheimer’s disease and did not present any other disease that affected the retina. The study also included a control group comprising 24 volunteers similar in age and other characteristics but without any relevant disease. The results of this investigation has been published in Scientific Reports.