Fundació ACE has recently started a new and innovative study, called IPACBIS (Identifying Preclinical Alzheimer's Disease in the community using a panel of biomarkers among individuals with Subjective Memory Complaints), with the goal of investigating the role of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) in predicting the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This research project, which has a budget of 158,000 euros, is funded by the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions framed in the Horizon2020 Initiative from the European Commission.
It is known that changes related to Alzheimer’s disease start building up in the brain up to 20 years before the onset of cognitive symptoms. The majority of diagnostic tests employed to detect these brain abnormalities and predict the risk of developing dementia in healthy individuals tend be expensive and invasive.
On the other hand, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a cheap, fast and painless test that consists in taking a photography of the posterior part of the eye in order to measure the thickness of the different layers of the retina. OCT has been used for many years in the ophthalmology field for the diagnosis and follow-up of common eye diseases. In the past few years research in OCT has supported its use in several neurological diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. Recent studies have demonstrated that patients with Alzheimer's disease experience significant thinning of the retina compared to age-matched healthy controls, pointing to the potential use of OCT as a biomarker of Alzheimer's.
The IPACBIS project will analyse the retinal thickness quantified by OCT from 200 cognitively healthy volunteers who participate in the FACEHBI project (Fundació ACE Healthy Brain Initiative).The new study will correlate this measure with several Alzheimer's markers: increased uptake of amyloid in the brain measured by PET imaging, cortical atrophy assessed by brain MRI and worsening on cognitive testing, both at the baseline visit and after 2 years.