UW Scientist Awarded $17.2M Grant to Study Link Between Eye Health and Alzheimer’s

UW Scientist Awarded $17.2M Grant to Study Link Between Eye Health and Alzheimer’s
A team led by a University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine scientist will use a $17.2 million National Institute on Aging (NIA) grant to study whether degenerative eye diseases are linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The award went to Cecilia Lee, an assistant professor of ophthalmology. Along with her team, Lee will try to identify biomarkers of eye disorders linked to aging and to Alzheimer's or its risk, and that could lead to more simple and relatively inexpensive diagnostic tool. Such a tool could also help in advancing prospective therapies. No single diagnostic test today can determine whether a person has Alzheimer’s. Rather, a diagnosis is decided through a process that involves the patient’s medical history, clinical signs and symptoms, and laboratory tests. Brain imaging to rule out other conditions might also be necessary, but such imaging can be expensive and is not widely accessible. Lee led a study, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia in 2018, that connected AD to age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. “The eyes provide a lens to understand the health of the brain,” she said in a press release. In
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