June 19, 2021

New technology makes it easier to diagnose neurodegenerative diseases

A new combination of optical coherence tomography (OCT), adaptive optics and deep neural networks should enable better diagnosis and monitoring for neuron-damaging eye and brain diseases like glaucoma.

Biomedical engineers at Duke University led a multi-institution consortium to develop the process, which easily and precisely tracks changes in the number and shape of retinal ganglion cells in the eye.

This work appears in a paper published on May 3 in the journal Optica.

The retina of the eye is an extension of the central nervous system. Ganglion cells are one of the primary neurons in the eye that process and send visual information to the brain. In many neurodegenerative diseases like glaucoma, ganglion cells degenerate and disappear, leading to irreversible blindness. Traditionally, researchers use OCT, an imaging technology similar to ultrasound that uses light…

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