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Alzheimers Eye

February 2, 2010

An eye test could oneday screen for Alzheimer’s disease early on.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
An Alzheimer’s eye exam…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Alzheimer’s disease is often detected only after it has already done irreparable damage to the brain. But scientists like University College London’s Francesca Cordeiro are looking for ways to screen for the disease while it is still in its earliest stages.

FRANCESCA CORDEIRO (University College London):
Many years pass between when the nerve cells start dying and when symptoms set in all of the neurodegenerative diseases.

HIRSHON:
Using a readily available laser imaging technique, she and her colleagues found evidence of early nerve cell death in the eyes of mice with a form of Alzheimer’s.

CORDEIRO:
We’re able to show for the first time in a living eye that it was possible to see single cells in these different phases of cell death.

HIRSHON:
The researchers were then able to reverse the cell death by giving the mice an Alzheimer’s drug. She hopes the technique can one day be used to screen for Alzheimer’s in humans. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.