An international team of researchers studying the link between vision loss and Alzheimer’s disease report that the loss of a particular layer of retinal cells not previously investigated may reveal the disease’s presence and provide a new way to track disease progression.
The researchers, from Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and the University of Hong Kong, examined retinas from the eyes of mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD). They presented their findings today at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
“The retina is an extension of the brain so it makes sense to see if the same pathologic processes found in an Alzheimer’s brain are also found in the eye,” explains R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, director of the Memory Disorders Program at GUMC and the only U.S. author on the study. “We know there’s an association between glaucoma and Alzheimer’s in that both are characterized by loss of neurons, but the mechanisms are not clear.”
Turner says many researchers increasingly view glaucoma as a neurodegenerative disorder similar to AD.
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