Keith Black, MD, Department of Neurosurgery of Cedars-Sinai, suggested the hallmark of Alzheimer’s, beta-amyloid plaque changes in the brain, are detected at the late stages of the disease. A new, non invasive, optical imaging being developed may help detect Alzheimer’s 15-20 years prior to diagnosis.

The retina, unlike other structure of the eye, is part of the central nervous system, sharing many characteristics of the brain. A few years ago, we discovered at Cedars-Sinai that the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease occur not only in the brain but also in the retina. By ‘staining’ the plaque with curcumin, a component of the common spice turmeric, we could detect it in the retina even before it began to accumulate in the brain. The device we develop enables us to look through the eye – just as an ophthalmologist looks through the eye to diagnose retinal disease – and see these changes.”

Although it’s AMAZING science, an interesting question was raised. What good will it do to know 15-20 years before a formal diagnosis of an incurable disease? The only reason I can think of is preparation…