Scientists have developed a light test that can detect early indicators of Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists have identified a low-cost, early diagnostic of Alzheimer’s disease that may be used to see if treatment is working.
The researchers looked at how light bounced off different areas of the brain using two fiberoptic wires.
The way light interacts with Alzheimer’s tissue differs from how it interacts with healthy tissue.
It’s the first time a non-invasive technology has been used to classify a degenerative brain disease in living people. It has been approved for possible clinical use by the US Food and Drug Administration, pending further testing.
Dr. Eugene Hanlon, the study’s lead researcher, believes the infrared light scan could eventually replace costly PET and MRI tests.
“This technology is noteworthy because it probes the structures of the brain non-invasively with a technique that is affordable and might be put into wider use,” said Dr Hanlon of the Veterans Affairs Bedford Healthcare System in the United States.
“Most critically, it provides information about people who have mild cognitive impairment. This method could become a non-invasive, safe way to check therapy response in real time.”
Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to diagnose early on since the symptoms are typically subtle and progressive.
It can only be definitively identified with current technologies by analyzing brain tissue after death.
Two fibreoptic probes are placed on a patient’s temple as part of the new method. One probe sends light into the patient’s brain in an unobtrusive manner. The light that scatters back is collected by the other probe.
The findings were reported in the Alzheimer’s Disease Journal.