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Approved research

Precision Retinal Biomarkers for Cognitive Impairment

Principal Investigator: Dr Ruogu Fang
Approved Research ID: 48388
Approval date: May 9th 2019

Lay summary

The objective of this research project is to uncover retinal biomarkers for those at-risk of cognitive function impairment from retinal imaging and advanced neuroimaging. This will permit a better understanding of the neurophysiological underpinning of the symptomatology and to inform the development of the clinical diagnosis of diseases that cause cognitive function impairment. Our central hypothesis is that neural activities in important brain systems which exhibit significant changes for those at-risk for cognitive impairment could be reflected in retinal changes evident through retinal imaging. The retinal biomarker can then promote the detection of preclinical cognitive function impairment, potentiating early intervention to slow down or even halt the disease progression. The rationale for the proposed research is that the retina and the optic nerve share many features with the brain in terms of embryological origin, anatomy, and physiological characteristics. Thus, pathological changes in the retina may shed light on the neurological causes. The duration of the project is expected to be three years. Public health impact: - Enable cheap, accessible, and fast retinal imaging biomarker for Alzheimer's Dis-ease and other neurodegenerative diseases. - Identify the connections between retinal changes and neuroimaging, genotyping with cognitive dysfunction.