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Fri. Mar 1st, 2024
Alzheimer's disease is becoming more prevalent, but the exact ways in which it harms the brain are still unclear.

According to a recent study, changes to the retina may provide insight into how Alzheimer‘s disease develops. The fact that symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease frequently show after the brain has already suffered damage makes treatment difficult.

Since beta-amyloid plaques accumulate in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease and impair the neurons’ capacity to send signals, many treatments being explored target this protein.

As a result, cognitive deterioration occurs.

Blood-retina barrier disruption in Alzheimer’s

Finding strategies to identify Alzheimer’s disease early on may enable patients to receive the right care sooner and lessen the harm that results in cognitive decline. The retinal changes in persons with Alzheimer’s disease now closely resemble those in the brain, according to a study that was recently published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The retinas of 24 deceased human donors with Alzheimer’s disease, 10 donors with mild cognitive impairment, and 27 donors with normal cognition were examined by the researchers.

The portion of the eye called the retina is responsible for turning light into the nerve signals that enable vision. It develops as an extension of the brain throughout embryonic development and, as a result, can offer us special insight into the condition of the brain.

Additionally, the retina contains a blood barrier that keeps dangerous substances from entering the retinal tissue and is made up of closely packed cells.

Findings

The primary finding of the study was that the retinal blood barrier was up to 70% more disrupted in those with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease than in those with normal cognition, allowing dangerous chemicals to penetrate the retinal tissue.

Researchers studied the proteins in the retinas and found that the arterioles were the primary sites of vascular beta-amyloid deposits in persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

As a result of this buildup, the arterioles became rigid and were unable to remove dangerous compounds from the retina.

However, it was unclear whether the issue was brought on by beta-amyloid buildup or by injury to the arterioles.

By Parvathy Sukumaran

Parvathy Sukumaran is a Content Creator and Editor at JustCare Health. She is an Educator and a Language Lecturer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education and an M.A in English Literature. She is passionate about writing, archaeology, music and cooking.

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