New technique may aid in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease

Nearly 6.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease.

There is no cure, and there are few treatments that can only be found with expensive scans or painful spinal taps.

But now, researchers are testing a new device that may make testing easier. This means it may lead to an earlier diagnosis.

John and Sylvia Whitley play Wordle every day. Today, the letters came easily, but the couple knew it might not last. Ten years ago, the Whitleys were caring for Sylvia’s mum, who has dementia, and started noticing changes in herself.

“It became increasingly difficult to recall names over time,” John said.

“I saw one of my closest friends,” Sylvia recalls. “I see her a few times a week and I don’t know her name.”

The couple had spinal fluid tests at Emory University. Sylvia has markers for Alzheimer’s. John didn’t. But after 58 years of marriage, everyone knows the other is struggling with memory. They all have pet scans now. John is eligible to participate in a clinical trial testing a new way to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s, so patients can start treatment if needed.

“I liken it to stopping a snowball before it starts rolling down a hill,” Dr. Richard Marshall from Progressive Medical Research in Port Orange, FL.

RetiSpec is a survey device. This is a special camera that takes 100 layered images of the retina.

“They then have artificial intelligence to review these images and can see the buildup of amyloid plaques on the retina,” said Dr. Marshall said.

Researchers are testing the accuracy of RetiSpec. Early research suggests that RetiSpec is between 80% and 90% accurate.

“If we can find anything for us, or then help other people, you know, we want to be a part of that,” Sylvia said.

“It’s good for me, and it’s good for everyone else,” John said.

Although Sylvia was ineligible to be tested for RetiSpec, she said her doctor was actively looking for other clinical trials she could participate in. Following FDA approval, the goal is to install RetiSpec cameras in ophthalmologists’ offices, making the technology more widely available, the researchers said.

Research summary

Subject: Does RETISPEC detect early Alzheimer’s?

background: In the U.S., approximately 5.8 million people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, 80% of whom are 75 or older, and of the 50 million people with dementia worldwide, an estimated 60 to 70 percent have Alzheimer’s disease Zheimer’s disease. There is no known treatment that cures Alzheimer’s, or even alters the brain processes of the disease, and severe cases can lead to a loss of brain function that can cause someone to stop eating and drinking and cause them to die. (Source:

diagnosis: Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning. Some memory-related warning signs include memory loss that can disrupt your daily life, difficulty completing familiar tasks, difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relationships, and even problems with new words in speaking or writing. Some other symptoms of Alzheimer’s include getting lost in familiar places, misplacing objects, or placing them in illogical locations. (Source:

new technology: RetiSpec is developing new technology to detect Alzheimer’s years before any symptoms are even prevalent. While there are currently no tests that can confirm an actual diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, RetiSpec’s technology uses a device that performs a simple eye scan to identify the presence of eye disease biomarkers, and the technology also uses hyperspectral imaging Technology and AI-driven algorithmic approaches to analyze biomarker data. (Source:

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