An eye test for Alzheimer's disease could be standard through opticians within the next five years, according to a new study published this week.
By putting fluorescent dye on the retina which is harmless to those who receive it, ocular specialists can spot dying cells, a key characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, scientists from University College London said.
Dr Susanne Sorensen, the head of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "We know as Alzheimer's disease develops, cells in the brain die and the brain shrinks. The study of this disease has been hampered by the difficulty of following the progress directly in the human brain."
She explained that research is particularly exciting as it creates more possibilities to observe single cells on the human retina using a generally non-invasive procedure.
Diagnostic purposes or the monitoring of drugs under development and their effects may be possible in the long term, though Dr Sorensen asserted that more research needs to be done before this is definitely possible.
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