MINNEAPOLIS – University of Minnesota researchers have created new technology aimed at making it easier to detect the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers from the Center for Drug Design used a camera to gather images of light interacting with the retina, which can catch Alzheimer’s in its early stages, the Minnesota Daily reported.
“Our goal is to detect the disease as early as we can, which will help in the progression and the success of treatments as well as drug discovery,” said Swati More, a university professor and co-lead researcher on the project.
The team has been working on the technology for the past four to five years, More said.
An early diagnosis can also lower a patient’s anxiety level, said Carla Zbacnik, the vice president of marketing for the Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. It can get patients connected to treatment and resources sooner, which increases their chances of benefiting from treatment, she said.
The study began clinical trials on humans this year. Researchers hope the work will shed light on the disease and medication design. Researchers hope eye doctors will use the process in annual eye exams, More said.
There is currently no cure for the disease and no way to stop its progression after being diagnosed.
“Alzheimer’s is a tsunami coming at us, and it is a public health crisis. We all have a brain, so we are all at risk. Everyone is impacted,” Zbacnik said.