Pupil response biomarkers for early detection and monitoring of Alzheimer's disease

Shaun Frost*, Yogesan Kanagasingam, Hamid Sohrabi, Pierrick Bourgeat, Victor Villemagne, Christopher C. Rowe, S. Lance Macaulay, Cassandra Szoeke, Kathryn A. Ellis, David Ames, Colin L. Masters, Stephanie Rainey-Smith, Ralph N. Martins, The AIBL Research Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


A screening process that could provide early and accurate diagnosis or prognosis for Alzheimer's disease (AD) would enable earlier intervention, and enable current and future treatments to be more effective. Ocular pathology and changes to vision and ocular function are being investigated for early detection and monitoring of AD. To explore the relationship between pupil flash response (PFR) parameters, AD and brain amyloid plaque burden. Nineteen AD and seventy healthy control (HC) participants were recruited from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) Flagship Study of Ageing. The potential correlations between PFR parameters and 1) AD and 2) brain amyloid plaque burden in the HC group (as a pre-clinical feature of AD), were investigated in this study. Our results demonstrate statistically significant relationships between PFR parameters, neocortical plaque burden and AD. A logistical model combining PFR parameters provided AD-classification performance with sensitivity 84.1%, specificity 78.3% and area under the curve 89.6%. Furthermore, some of the AD specific PFR parameters were also associated with neocortical plaque burden in pre-clinical AD. These PFR changes show potential as an adjunct for noninvasive, cost-effective screening for pre-clinical AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-939
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Alzheimer Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's
  • aging
  • diagnosis
  • pupil
  • screening
  • vision

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