WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 -- 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 will describe 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, N.Y., which takes place next week.
At the plenary talk, Goldstein will present "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.
The technology may have additional value in accelerating clinical testing of new emerging treatments for the disease.
At last year's annual OSA meeting, Goldstein unveiled two laser-based eye tests that could detect unusual cataracts composed of the amyloid beta protein, the same molecules that are the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Previously, Goldstein and his colleagues had discovered evidence that Alzheimer's was not just a brain disease, but rather a "systemic" one that manifests itself in the lens of the eye. The amyloid beta proteins that form plaques in the brain and impair cognitive function also build up near the edge of lens, ultimately forming an unu
Contact: Colleen Morrison
Optical Society of America