DrStudies conducted in recent years have repeatedly shown that Parkinson’s disease, which occurs with twitching and limitation of movement in the eye, is also associated with thinner layers of the retina. The researchers have now evaluated large-scale data from several patients with Parkinson’s disease and from healthy subjects from the comparison group in order to measure the links more precisely – with the hope of enabling early diagnosis of this neurodegenerative disease in the future.
the A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience Based on UK Biobank data and including 700 Parkinson’s disease patients and a control group of over 100,000 subjects. Different layers of the retina were measured in 3D in subjects using the non-invasive method of coherent tomography, an eye examination that is very easy to perform.
In fact, it turns out that two layers of the retina in Parkinson’s patients were a little thinner before the actual symptoms began — the inner nuclear layer was about three percent thinner on average instead of 40 thousandths of a millimeter. However, the thickness of the layers varies between different patients as well as in controls, so that this does not allow for a clear diagnosis of the disease. The exact mechanisms explaining the decreased thickness of the retinal layers are not yet known.
Also a harbinger in the gastrointestinal area?
However, the participating researchers are pleased that signs of Parkinson’s disease can be found many years before other clinical symptoms appear. “While we can’t yet predict whether a patient will develop Parkinson’s disease, this method could soon be used for initial screening of people at risk of developing the disease,” said Siegfried Wagner of University College London, according to a press release.
But Parkinson’s disease appears not to be accompanied by changes in the retina just before the typical symptoms begin: according to one A study published in the Journal of Gut Gastrointestinal diseases also occur somewhat more frequently in patients than in people without Parkinson’s disease. However, the exact mechanisms remain to be investigated, the study authors explain.
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