US researchers have conducted a breakthrough study which revealed that the eyes of the patients can help in identifying the symptoms of Alzheimer's early stages.
Important signs such as inflammation and toxic tau, which point towards the presence of this disease, could be observed in the retina.
"Early detection of Alzheimer's warning signs would allow for early intervention and prevention of neurodegeneration before major brain cell loss and cognitive decline occurs," stated lead author Ashley Nilson, graduate student at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, as reported by the indianexpress.com.
"Using the retina for detecting Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases would be non-invasive, inexpensive and could become a part of a normal screening done at patient checkups," Nilson stated further.
Revelations about the toxic tau, which lies between the connected regions of the brain, is likely to trigger inflammation.
In this neurodegenerative disease, the tau protein transforms into a toxic form called oligomers which starts clumping neurofibrillary tangles which can eventually kill the brain cells. A cycle of toxic tau production can cause cell death across the brain.
"Our findings suggest that the degeneration of nerve cells due to chronic inflammation induced by the tau oligomers may be combated through the combination of anti-tau oligomer and anti-inflammatory therapeutics for the treatment of Alzheimer's and related diseases," Rakez Kayed, Associate Professor at The UTMB said, siasat.com reported.
The researchers had done a systematic study of the brain and retina samples from Alzheimer's patients and also a mouse model of the disease.
"Early detection of Alzheimer's warning signs would allow for early intervention and prevention of neurodegeneration before major brain cell loss and cognitive decline occurs," Nilson said.
Not just Alzheimer's, eye test can also help in detecting various other health conditions such as diabetic complications, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the researchers stated.
This research has been published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.