The reaction of the pupil will tell about the Alzheimer's onset

Scientists from the University of California in San Diego (USA) proposed to measure the diameter of pupils for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Today, the detection of beta-amyloid and Tau protein is used as the basic method for detecting age-related dementia. Also the method of early detection of cognitive impairment (perception of new information, memorization, etc.), which in the future may also result in the development of Alzheimer's disease, is applied. 

Experts from San Diego have proposed a new technique based on measuring the diameter of the pupil during mental workload. The diameter of the pupil may vary in response to different influences, but the area of the medulla oblongata, called the blue spot (locus coeruleus) is responsible for its expansion during the problems solving. With a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease, it is in this substance that changes develop, gradually leading to age-related dementia. Scientists link the damage to the accumulation of Tau protein. One of the early symptoms, indicating the beginning of an adverse process, is a change in the reaction of the pupil to mental workload. 

In the study, which involved more than 1,100 men aged 56 to 66 years, participants were asked to solve mathematical problems. While participants were performing tasks, the degree of pupil dilation was recorded. It turned out that people with a predisposition to Alzheimer's disease spent as much time on solving problems as people without a hereditary pathology, but their pupil expanded more. The study showed that measuring pupil diameter in response to mental workload can be used as a genetically mediated biomarker for early detection of Alzheimer's disease. 

Sept. 12, 2019, 10:14 a.m.

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