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Retina

Macular RNFL thickness may be biomarker for cognitive function in older adults

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Findings from a new study suggest that macular retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness may be a predicative biomarker for evaluating cognitive function in adults 60 years or older. Large-scale population-based studies are needed to confirm these findings.

In this cohort study, the thickness of 6 retinal layers in the macular region, the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layers (RNFLs), and the subfoveal choroid of 430 participants were assessed at baseline with 215 completing a mean (SD) of 5.4 (0.6) years of follow-up.

Baseline macular RNFL thickness was associated with baseline Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD) score (and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score.

A larger decline in the CERAD and MMSE scores in the follow-up period was associated with thinner total macular RNFL thickness at baseline.

When participants had total macular RNFL thickness below the lowest quartile cutoff value at baseline, there was a great decline in cognitive scores a higher prevalence of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease compared with participants who had RNFL thickness above the lowest quartile cutoff value.

Reference
Kim HM, Han JW, Park YJ, et al. Association Between Retinal Layer Thickness and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online May 26, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2022.1563

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