August 8, 2013
Primary Care Optometry News Publishes Cover Story on Possible Early Alzheimer’s Detection and Treatment
Thorofare, NJ – Primary Care Optometry News, a SLACK Incorporated publication, has published a cover story in its August 2013 issue discussing how noninvasive diagnostic retinal testing could possibly hold the answer to early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) detection and treatment. In print since 1996, Primary Care Optometry News is the definitive information source for optometric professionals seeking timely and accurate reporting on clinical issues, socioeconomic topics, medical therapies and industry updates.
The cover story entitled, “Eyes May Hold Answer for Method of Early Alzheimer’s Detection, Treatment” details how retinal testing may detect amyloid beta protein deposits, the biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurologists have theorized a correlation between the amount of amyloid in the eye and amyloid in the brain. If correct, the retina could be the solution to early detection and treatment of AD, as amyloid beta protein accumulation may begin approximately 20 years prior to memory loss symptoms. To confirm this theory, two tests have been developed: the Retinal Amyloid Index by NeuroVision and the Sapphire II by Cognoptix.
“Ocular exams through the years have attempted to diagnose Alzheimer’s at an early age,” said Michael Tolentino, MD, Primary Care Optometry News Editorial Board member. “We have looked at optic nerve cupping, pupillary response to tropicamide dilation and ocular muscle movement. While all have been investigated, all have failed to withstand the test of time in terms of sensitivity and specificity, and all were subjective in nature. Cognoptix and NeuroVision are trying to objectify the diagnosis.”
The ability of the Sapphire II and Retinal Amyloid Index to easily qualify patients for clinical study inclusion will give pharmaceutical companies a foundation to identify product performance in phase 4 studies, and therefore mark clinical effectiveness to detect and treat AD in a reliable way.
“Most people, if they’re going to get AD, start developing the pathology hallmarks, such as amyloid deposits, in their 50s,” said Keith L. Black, MD, Chairman and Professor of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, and Co-founder of NeuroVision. “The key for having an effective treatment for AD is early detection. You want to prevent those brain cells from being killed or dying in the first place.”
“The amount of photons captured is a direct correlation with the amount of amyloid in the lens of the eye,” said Carl Sadowsky, MD, Medical Director of the Premiere Research Institute at Palm Beach Neurology in West Palm Beach, Florida. He stated that the Sapphire II is currently in phase 1/2 of clinical feasibility trials and that phase 3 is expected to begin in 2014.
“It was exciting to cover a topic such as this that affects nearly everyone, either directly or indirectly,” said Nancy Hemphill, ELS, Editor in Chief of Primary Care Optometry News. “With this technology being developed, optometrists have the potential to be on the front lines of detecting this devastating disease decades before symptoms occur.”
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