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Depletion of the Retina of the Eye Related to Parkinson's Disease

Depletion of the Retina of the Eye Related to Parkinson's Disease - Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder, which attacks more than 10 million people worldwide. This disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder suffered after Alzheimer's disease. Men are declared 1.5 times more likely to experience Parkinson's disease than women.

Individual neurons in the brain are indeed responsible for producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in sending messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination.

Depletion of the Retina of the Eye Related to Parkinson's Disease
Credits: Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels
When these neurons gradually die, dopamine levels begin to decrease, causing abnormal brain activity. And as a result, symptoms of Parkinson's disease begin to appear, which include slow movements, stiffness in the arms and legs, problems with balance, muffled speech, reduced blinking, swallowing, and blank facial expressions.

A person can detect the early signs of Parkinson's disease, which include the following:

  1. Movement and coordination
  2. Sound
  3. Facial expression
  4. Handwriting
  5. Sleep problems
  6. Smell disorders

A new study shows that retinal depletion is another sign of Parkinson's disease. The study was published in the online edition of Neurology, a medical journal from the American Academy of Neurology.

"Our research is the first to show an association between retinal depletion, a known sign of disease development such as loss of brain cells that produce dopamine," said study author Lee Jee-young, MD, Ph.D., from Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center in South Korea is quoted from Boldsky.

"We also found that the thinner the retina, the greater the severity of the disease. This discovery could mean that neurologists can finally use a simple eye scan to detect Parkinson's disease at an early stage before problems with movement begin," he explained later.

About 49 people are known to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease involved in this study. The researchers evaluated their eyes with a complete eye examination, and they found retinal thinning, mostly in the two inner layers of the five tiers of the retina.

The depletion of the retina correlates with the loss of neurons that produce dopamine, and this is also related to the severity of the disease. However, further research is needed to determine why retinal depletion is related to neuronal loss.

"If confirmed, retinal scanning not only allows earlier treatment for Parkinson's disease but also more precise monitoring of treatments that can slow the progression of the disease as well," concluded Lee Jee-young.
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