Eye Pigment Levels May Provide Biomarker of Cognitive Function

Biomarker may provide a way of detecting patients at risk of developing Alzheimer's at earlier stage than currently available.

Ongoing European Research Council-funded research at Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG) is investigating the potential link between cognitive function and levels of a vital eye pigment linked to diet. The study suggests that measuring macular pigment offers potential as a biomarker of cognitive health.

The Waterford clinical trial research, conducted by a team of 10 researchers and healthcare professionals, investigated two patient groups — those free of retinal disease but with low macular pigment and those with early age-related macular degeneration.

A series of tests were carried out on the volunteer trial patients at the analytical and vision laboratories in Carriganore House on WIT’s West Campus where the MPRG is based. These examined the relationship between serum concentrations of the macular carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, macular pigment levels in the eye and cognitive function.

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