KUOPIO, Finland, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Pathological changes in the retina of the eye can help identify diseases of the central nervous system, a study from the University of Eastern Finland suggests.
The research was conducted by Dr. Henri Leinonen, who explored functional abnormalities in the retinas of mice for his PhD project. According to UEF researchers, the light-sensing tissue of the bottom of the eye can be considered an integral part of the central nervous system. Because the eye can be easily examined, Leinonen says using the retina as a means to screen brain diseases can make diagnostics more efficient and less invasive.
In his experiments, Leinonen used electroretinography and visual evoked potentials to track changes retinal functions. In a mouse model of Huntington's disease, Leinonen discovered changes in day and color vision while the animal was presymptomatic. Abnormalities in night vision were also discovered in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.
Leinonen's findings add to the growing body of evidence that pathological changes in the retina are linked to the central nervous system, noting visual impairment was the fastest progressive symptom in two of the models tested.