Optics Tests For Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Make Significant Advances

Photonics Online

Washington — Providing an update on progress and new findings on his optical tests for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, Lee Goldstein of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School described dramatic new developments in the technology during a plenary talk at Frontiers in Optics, the annual meeting of the Optical Society of America (OSA) in Rochester, NY.

At the plenary talk, Goldstein presented “proof of concept” evidence obtained in mice that the tests can detect early molecular signs of the disease in the eye even before Alzheimer’s pathology is present in the brain. This achievement raises hopes for detecting the disease at its earliest stages and slowing the progression of the disease to a crawl.

Goldstein envisions that the tests could become part of a suite of “universal early screening technologies” that would be a routine part of an annual physical exam for people starting in middle age. With the tests, envisioned to be relatively inexpensive, physicians would be able to monitor patients year to year for any signs that the disease is present and progressing. The goal, according to Goldstein, is to catch the disease early in its course when treatment is likely to be most effective.