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Funded Studies

Optimization of Optical Coherence Tomography as a Biomarker for Parkinson's Disease

Determine the thickness of the neural part of the eye, the retina in patients suffering from Parkinson Disease and in healthy, age matched subjects.

Project Description:
Patients diagnosed with Parkinson Disease and not suffering from eye disease will be examined and the back of their eye imaged using a new method of optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT does not pose any discomfort beyond what is experienced by routine eye examinations which involve placing the chin on a stabilizing rest and the pupil is dilated. The measurements of retinal thickness will be compared to the same measures in the eye of healthy subjects. Each subject is tested on two commercially available OCT equipments and the results compared in order to derive a generally valid method for further clinical and research use of OCT.

Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:
Parkinson Disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Current research attempts to find protection against progression. There is a need to develop objective and quantifiable markers of neurodegeneration in PD. The technique of Optical Coherence Tomography is easy, takes only a few minutes and hence lends itself as a potential biomarker to follow the progression of PD. Potential treatment effects can take advantage of the simplicity of administration and quantification of OCT in PD.

Anticipated Outcome:
The results will show whether preliminary data in a smaller number of patients hold up and indeed the central retinal area is thinned in PD. Secondly, we will establish if the method is applicable to different instruments. Thirdly, we will learn if retinal thinning parallels the progress of motor impairment in PD. Fourthly, if the central retinal area is found to be preferentially affected in PD, we will gain new knowledge of the disease process.

Final Outcome

Parkinson disease (PD) also affects vision.  Several studies, using an inexpensive, widely available technique, called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), have suggested that the retina (the back of the eye) of the eye is affected in PD. The OCT method allows precise quantification of retinal changes in PD. One of the major hurdles in adopting the OCT for diagnosis and follow-up of disease progression is that different studies used different commercially available equipments.

In this research we determined the part of the retina which needs to be measured for PD induced changes. We developed an analytical model which permits the definition of PD induced changes in the select portion of the retina. The model allows one to compare results irrespective of the differences in actual measurements by two, widely available OCT equipments. Future, large scale studies will establish if these retinal changes in PD correlate with disease progression and with therapy.

Presentations & Publications

Bodis-Wollner I, Spund B, Liu T, Shrier E, Sohail N, Lazzaro D R, Selesnick I, Belakovskaya Z, Glazman S,
Javaid. M A. Foveal Remodeling as a Diagnostic Marker in Parkinson Disease: Optical Coherence Tomography.
Being submitted to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Poster Presentation at ARVO’s 2012 Annual Meeting, Translational Research: Seeing the Possibilities, May
6-10, 2012, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Comorbidities Prove Challenging In The Identification Of Parkinson Disease Patients And Normal Controls
For PD Retinal Model Development.
Authors: S. Slotnick, I. Bodis-Wollner, J. Sherman.
Poster Presentation at 25th Annual Symposium on Etiology, Pathogenesis and Treatment of PD and other
Movement Disorders in Irving, TX (May 2011).

Retinal thickness changes over time in Parkinson Disease patients.
Authors: I. Bodis-Wollner, E. Shrier, B. Spund, T. Liu, J. Weedon, S. Glazman, M. Javaid.

Shrier E, Adam C, Avitable M, Selesnick I, Liu T, Spund B, Lozarro D, Glazman S, Javaid M, Ding Y, Bodis-
Wollner I. Interocular Asymmetry of the Retinopathy in Parkinson Disease. Paper to be submitted.

Slotnick S, Bodis-Wollner I. Veridicality of SD-OCT in Oblique Retinal Scans.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science Journal. ARVO Meeting Abstracts April
22, 2011 52:1308.

Bodis-Wollner I, Spund B, Liu T, Shrier E, Selesnick I, Glazman S, Sohail N, Lazzaro D.
Remodeling of the Fovea in Parkinson Disease. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual
Science Journal. ARVO Meeting Abstracts April 22, 2011 52:6660.
Bodis-Wollner I, Shrier E, Spund B, Liu T, Weedon J, Glazman S, Javaid M. Retinal
Thickness Changes over Time in Parkinson Disease Patients. Movement Disorders. 2011;
26(5): 14-16.


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