Eye imaging can detect signs of Parkinson’s disease up to 7 years before symptoms appear

The World Health Organization (Getty) estimates that the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease has doubled over the past 25 years.

Parkinson’s disease It was first described in 1817 by the English physician James Parkinson and is a disease of the nervous system that affects the brain structures responsible for control and coordination of movements and posture. The incidence is estimated at 21–25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Now, a new study has shown that markers that indicate the presence of Parkinson’s disease in patients can be identified on average. seven years before the onset of the usual clinical symptoms of the diseaseAs the research team found out University College London (UCL) and Moorfields Eye Hospital.

For the first time, such an analysis showed such results several years before the diagnosis. These results are made possible by the largest study to date. retinal images. A study just published in the American Academy of Neurology’s medical journal Neurology has identified markers artificial intelligence (AI) eye scanners.

Using eye scan data revealed signs other neurodegenerative diseasessuch as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and, more recently, schizophrenia, in a new and exciting area of ​​research called “oculomics”.

A recent study through post-mortem examination of patients with Parkinson’s disease revealed differences in the INL (inner nuclear layer) of the retina in those who had the disease compared to healthy individuals (Getty).

Eye scans and eye data were also able to reveal high blood pressure susceptibility; cardiovascular disease, including stroke; and diabetes. Doctors have long known that the eyes can serve as a window to the rest of the body, providing a direct view of many aspects of our health.

In the current investigation, the analysis of the AlzEye dataset was replicated using a larger database Biobank UK (healthy volunteers) who reproduced the results. Using these two large and powerful datasets allowed the team to identify these subtle markers despite Parkinson’s disease having a relatively low prevalence (0.1-0.2% of the population). Data set generation alsee this was made possible thanks to UNDERSTANDINGthe world’s largest database of retinal images and associated clinical data.

high resolution retinal imaging they are now a routine part of eye care, specifically a type of 3D scan known as optical coherence tomography (OCT), which is widely used in ophthalmic clinics and commercial opticians. In less than a minute, an OCT scan produces a transverse section of the retina (the back of the eye) with incredible detail, down to thousandths of a millimeter.

These images are extremely useful for monitoring eye health, but their value is much wider as retinal scans are the only non-invasive way to see the layers of cells under the surface of the skin.

In recent years, researchers have begun using computers to accurately analyze large numbers of OCT and other eye images, in a fraction of the time it would take a human. Using type AI now they can discover hidden information about the whole body from these images alone. Harnessing this new potential is what oculomics is all about.

Lead Author, Siegfried Wagner, a medical practitioner at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, who is also the principal investigator on several other AlzEye studies, said: “I continue to be amazed at what we can find with eye scans. Although we are not yet ready to predict whether a person will develop Parkinson’s disease, we hope that this method will soon be able to become a tool for pre-screening people at risk of contracting the disease.”

Professor Alastair Denniston, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Birmingham University Hospitals, Professor at the University of Birmingham and member of the NIHR Moorfields BRC, said: “This work demonstrates the potential of eye data used by technologies to detect signs and changes too imperceptible to humans. We can now detect very early signs of Parkinson’s disease, opening up new treatment options.”

Previous studies using OCT scanning have already identified potential morphological abnormalities associated with Parkinson’s disease, but data are conflicting. A new study confirms previous reports of GCIPL (ganglion cell inner plexiform layer) is significantly thinner in patients with neurodegenerative disease..

In addition, reduced thickness was found to be associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, in addition to the risk due to other factors or comorbidities.

The researchers say future research is needed to determine if the progression of GCIPL atrophy is caused by changes in the Parkinson’s disease brain or if weight loss precedes GCIPL atrophy. Studying this may help explain the mechanism and determine if retinal imaging can help in the diagnosis, prognosis, and complex management of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Keep reading:

Parkinson’s disease: what are presence hallucinations and why do they indicate an increased risk of dementia?
Analysis of body movements and sleep quality can predict Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s Disease: An Intense Exercise Plan May Help Slow Disease Progression

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