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Feb 24, 2004
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I read about some recent optical diagnostic tests which were developed by Dr. Lee Goldstein, a psychiatrist at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, to detect early signs of Alzheimer's.

The first test:quasielastic light scattering

This test detects the deposits of amyloid beta proteins in the lens. An interior laser opththalmoscope is the instrument used for this test. The quantity of amyloid protein deposits apparently mimics those found in the brain.

The second test: fluorescence ligand scanning" (FLS)

Another optical test which involves deposition of a special fluorescent product that binds to the amyloid proteins . This is used to determine if the cataracts displayed by a patient is either a common cataract (which is usually centric) versus an Alzheimer's cataract (which looks like an arc around the lens). An infrared light makes the proteins glow indicating Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Goldstein stated that these two technologies may also detect amyloid plaques resulting from prion diseases, including mad cow, scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in humans.

What are the repercussions for Alzheimer's patients ? If Alzheimer's is treated in its earlier stages, is the prognosis better? is it slowed down?