Our Assistant Professor Dr Carol Cheung Launches a New Study Utilizing Retinal Imaging for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) Screening in Chinese Population with the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics at CUHK
The successful press conference marked the launch of the SEEDS Study in Prince of Wales Hospital on 7 September 2017. Under the support from Seeds Foundation Limited and the Health and Medical Research Fund (Food and Health Bureau), the ‘Screening for Early AlzhEimer’s DiseaSe Study’ (SEEDS Study) has been launched collaboratively by our assistant professor Dr Carol Cheung and her team, teams from the Division of Neurology of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics of CUHK and Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital to explore other methods such as retinal imaging (視網膜影像) for screening Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) (阿茲海默症) or commonly known as senile dementia (老人認知障礙症) in Chinese population, so as to enhance detection of early AD.
Currently, diagnosing AD at an early stage requires the use of amyloid-PET scan or testing of cerebrospinal fluid collected via lumber puncture. Such investigations are not easily accessible and invasive. The study aims to explore biomarkers and new investigations in Chinese population to detect AD earlier in a non-invasive way. Dr Carol Cheung explained, ‘the retina exists as an extension of central nervous system, offering a “window” to study cerebral microvascular and neurodegenerative damage’. Her research team has made significant progress in developing and applying retinal imaging as a non-invasive biomarker test to study microvascular and neuronal pathology in the eye and in the brain. The current proposed study would lead us to enhance the use of retinal imaging techniques in predicting who will develop cognitive decline in patients with AD or early dementia patients with MCI, as well as deeper understanding of early vascular dysfunction and neuronal injury in the pathophysiology of dementia.
Professor Vincent Mok of the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, CUHK also stated that the earlier we could detect, the earlier we could intervene when the disease was still mild. They hope to slow down or even stop the progression, and reduce the suffering from patients and the caregivers.
Mr You Nam Wong, Hong Kong artist and son of the first subject in the study shared his experience. ‘Medical research is very crucial in the fight against disease and this is why I support my father joining the SEEDS Study. It is meaningful to participate in research as a mean to fight against AD.’
The study is recruiting 100 subjects aged between 50 and 80 including patients with mild cognitive impairment, AD dementia and subjects with normal cognition. They will undergo a series of clinical assessments, including cognitive test, blood test, brain MRI and retinal imaging conducted by the research team at CUHK as well as an amyloid-PET scan at Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital.
The public who is interested in the research is welcomed to visit: https://cog.mect.cuhk.edu.hk/research/4 or contact Miss Kwan at 2635 2160 for details.
Dr Carol Cheung (fifth from the left), Ms Haley Mak (first from the left), Mr Victor Chan (second from the left) attended the press conference with Prof Vincent Mok (sixth from the left), Mr You Nam Wong (sixth from the right), Mr Mau Sum But, Board member of the Seeds Foundation Limited (third from the right) and other guests to raise the public awareness in brain health.
Dr Carol Cheung (first from the right) answered the questions with Mr You Nam Wong (first from the left), Prof Vincent Mok and Mr Mau Sum But on the stage.