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August 24, 2023

AI-Empowered Eye Scans Pave Path To Early Parkinson's Detection

AI-empowered eye scans unveil Parkinson's secrets pre-symptoms, the method could be used as a pre-screening tool

A groundbreaking study led by London's Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology reveals a potent new tool in the quest to detect Parkinson's disease before symptoms surface. Harnessing the prowess of artificial intelligence (AI), researchers examined retinal markers using high-definition 3D scans called optical coherence tomography (OCT).

The data gathered from a cohort of over 150,000 patients who underwent OCT scans between 2008 and 2018, uncovered distinct ocular differences between individuals with and without Parkinson's. The telltale signs were spotted an average of seven years before clinical symptoms manifested.

By peering beneath the surface of the retina, OCT scans – a commonly used optician's tool – captured intricate layers of cells, providing a unique window into eye health. This revolutionary approach suggests that monitoring these layers prior to symptom onset could revolutionize early Parkinson's detection.

Dr. Siegfried Wagner, a clinical research fellow at Moorfields and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology researcher, expressed his awe at the insights gleaned from eye scans. He envisions a future where preemptive interventions based on scan findings empower individuals to make lifestyle changes, potentially averting the emergence of debilitating neurodegenerative disorders.

Moorfields' medical director, Louisa Wickham, emphasized the potential of scalable, non-invasive OCT scans. Wickham highlighted the scalability, affordability, and expediency of OCT scans compared to traditional brain scans, paving the way for predictive insights into public health.

Published in the medical journal Neurology, the study's findings hold immense promise. The technique's non-invasive nature and routine usage position it for swift integration into healthcare systems, including the NHS. Claire Bale, associate director of research at Parkinson's UK, underscored the significance of early intervention, especially given the non-invasive nature of eye scans already in use.

Moorfields' pioneering research extends beyond Parkinson's, having previously revealed vital clues about other neurodegenerative conditions. The convergence of AI and ophthalmology opens a portal to early detection, ushering in a new era of proactive healthcare.

Josefina Dipaolo
Josefina Dipaolo
Content Writer at TechNews180
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