Cataract lens study may lead to early Alzheimer’s detection and diagnosis

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — The results of a study by a team of U.S. researchers suggest that zinc found in lenses in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease as well a Down syndrome strongly supports the hypothesis that Alzheimer’s is a systemic disorder. Researchers are presenting their findings at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology this week.

Accumulation of amyloid-β (A β) in the brain is a principal feature of Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome. In this study, the researchers analyzed human Alzheimer’ and Down syndrome lenses and identified co-localized zinc and (A β) in the same cytosolic compartments of lens fiber cells. According to the scientists, these results demonstrates that zinc contributes mechanistically to the distinctive age-dependent supranuclear lens phenotype associated with Alzheimer’ and Down syndrome.

The presentation reports that these data are the first to establish an Alzheimer’s-linked amyloid pathology outside the brain, and may ultimately, “pave the way for development of novel ophthalmic technology for early Alzheimer’s detection an diagnosis”

Abstract Title: Zinc Potentiates Alzheimer’s Disease Amyloid-β (Aβ) – Mediated Lens Protein Aggregation and Light Scattering
Presentation Start/End Time: Sunday May 1, 2011; 11:15am – 1pm
Location: Hall B/C
Session Number: 131

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The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include more than 12,500 eye and vision researchers from over 80 countries. ARVO encourages and assists research, training, publication and knowledge-sharing in vision and ophthalmology. For more information, visit

All abstracts accepted for presentation at the ARVO Annual Meeting represent previously unpublished data and conclusions. This research may be proprietary or may have been submitted for journal publication. Embargo policy: Journalists must seek approval from the presenter(s) before reporting data from paper or poster presentations. Press releases or stories on information presented at the ARVO Annual Meeting may not be released or published until the conclusion of the presentation.

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