New study conducted by researchers report link between retinal thinning and early onset of Parkinson’s disease
Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is complex procedure, which include neurological exams that detect the disease after occurrence of symptoms. New study conducted by team of South Korean researchers offer a clear indication of the onset of the disease. The study initially found that loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, which is a key characteristic of the disease is linked with a gradual thinning of nerve cells in the inner layers of the retina.
As a part of the study, 49 subjects recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s were assigned. They were matched with a control group of healthy, age-similar subjects without the disease. High-resolution eye scans were taken of all the participants, and those with Parkinson’s were found to, on average, have thinner retinal layers compared to the healthy subjects. Furthermore, degree of retinal thinning was found to be associated with the severity of the disease.
The study adds to a compelling body of evidence beginning to suggest that several neurodegenerative diseases may be detected through simple eye tests. Other recent work has found cell death in the eye could be traced to signs of early Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s researchers are beginning to target the eye as an indicator of early neurodegeneration.
Further research is required on retinal thinning with verified results in a larger cohort and tracking subjects over a longer period of time. Researchers believe that this study offers potential diagnostic tool for clinicians for accurate and easy detection of disorders. The new research was published in the journal Neurology in August 2018.