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Pupil dilation could serve as a screening tool for Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists have linked greater pupil dilation during cognitive tasks to a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

17 Sep 2019 by Selina Powell

Pupil dilation could one day be used as a screening tool for individuals who are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Writing in Neurobiology of Aging, scientists highlighted that pupillary response during cognitive tasks could help to detect Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms appear.

The researchers linked pupillary dilation responses with identified Alzheimer’s disease risk genes.

The authors emphasised: “In combination with other biomarkers, task-evoked pupillary responses may provide additional information for early screening of genetically at-risk individuals even before cognitive declines.”

The study focused on pupillary responses driven by the locus coeruleus, a cluster of neurons responsible for regulating arousal and also modulating cognitive function.

The earliest known occurring biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease, tau, first appears in this region of the brain stem.

Image credit: Pixabay/sbtlneet

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