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2017 Grants - Cabrera-DeBuc
Non-Invasive Ocular Screening Approach to Identify Early Biomarkers in AD
Delia Cabrera-DeBuc, Ph.D.
Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami
2017 Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant to Promote Diversity (AARG-D)
Can a non-invasive eye test be used to detect, diagnose, and monitor early stages of Alzheimer’s disease?
An important goal of current research in Alzheimer’s disease is the identification of ways to detect and diagnose the disease in its earliest stages. When the disease is detected and diagnosed early, those affected have the best chances of receiving necessary support and responding to treatment. Several lines of evidence suggest that measurements or imaging of the eye could be a simple and noninvasive way to detect early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Delia Cabrera-DeBruc, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed a series of studies to identify and characterize measurements related to eye function that indicate the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. A number of tools are already available that can image the parts of the eye, record activity of nerve cells in the eye, test visual function, and measure blood flow in the eye. All of these tests can be performed noninvasively — that is without the need for drugs, injections, or related interventions.
Dr. Cabrera-DeBruc and colleagues first plan to specifically configure equipment for older people to perform these measurements. Then they will enroll a group of older people into their study, some of whom have healthy brain function and others who have early signs of cognitive decline or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers will study how well the eye measurements correspond to brain function, and identify those eye measurements that are reliable indicators of changing brain health.
This research project follows up on promising earlier studies and holds the promise of identifying relatively simple and noninvasive ways to detect and diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in early stages. That ability could improve the prospects for treatment and will accelerate future research into treatment.