A newly developed noninvasive eye scan could detect the key signs of Alzheimer’s disease years before patients experience symptoms, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center researchers announced Thursday.

Since Alzheimer’s disease affects the retina — the back of the eye — similarly to the way it affects the brain, the high-definition eye scan reveals crucial warning signs of the disease: amyloid-beta deposits, a buildup of toxic proteins, according to the study published in JCI Insight.

The findings represent a major advancement toward identifying people at high risk for the debilitating condition years sooner, Cedars investigators said.

The study comes amid a sharp rise in the number of people affected by the disease. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to triple by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“The findings suggest that the retina may serve as a reliable source for Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis,” said the study’s senior lead author, Dr. Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, a principal investigator and associate professor in the hospital’s departments of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Sciences.

“One of the major advantages of analyzing the retina is the repeatability, which allows us to monitor patients and potentially the progression of their disease,” she said.

–City News Service

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