A study conducted by London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology suggests that eye scans powered by artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to detect Parkinson’s disease before symptoms appear. Using AI to analyze a dataset, researchers identified physical differences in the eyes of individuals with Parkinson’s compared to those without the disease. By examining the layers of cells beneath the skin’s surface in optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans, the study found that markers indicative of Parkinson’s could be identified an average of seven years before clinical presentation. This non-invasive, cost-effective method could serve as an early screening tool for the disease.
Researchers believe that the ability to detect Parkinson’s before symptoms manifest could result in early intervention and lifestyle changes that prevent or delay the onset of the neurodegenerative disorder. The scalability, non-invasiveness, lower cost, and quicker turnaround time of OCT scans compared to traditional brain scans make this approach promising for use in broader populations.
The same study also showed that eye scans have previously revealed signs of other neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and schizophrenia. This breakthrough can potentially revolutionize public health by enabling predictive analysis and early detection of various diseases through routine eye screenings.
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