How A Retina Scan Can Easily Save Not Only The Eyesight But Even Life!
There are many medical tests that can detect what is wrong with a person, to find out if they are suffering from any illness or if they have any injuries. But what if a simple, nonevasive eye scan could tell if a person will lead a long and healthy life or struggle with early diseases? Well, that is what experts believe a retinal scan could do and that it proves to be the best indicator to detect the gap between a person’s biological age and calendar age. What is the difference between those two ages? How to find yours out? And what makes experts think a retina scan could help? Read on to find out.
Biological Vs Calendar Age
First of all, to understand how such detection would work, it is worth finding biological and calendar ages. It is nothing new that aging affects everyone’s body and there are usually signs that show this, in some people earlier than they would have excepted. And it is our biological age that is responsible for this and that might be different from other people. While a person and their friend might be the same age calender-wife, their body might in fact be slightly older, and as a result of this, more susceptible to disease. But how do you find out your biological age? Read on to find out.
How To Find Your Biological Age
The first step to prevent these future diseases would be good to know what one’s biological age is. Though unfortunately, the existing methods right now, such as neuroimaging or DNA testing, are not only invasive and time-consuming but also expensive. However, a team of scientists from China, Australia, and Germany has come up with a much simpler solution. This one is a non-invasive and painless method and that is the retinal scan. Adding to this, the algorithm created by the researchers based on those scans estimates the biological age with greater accuracy than the methods previously known.
How Does The Scan Work
In order to find out if their theory works, the researchers involved had created a learning algorithm to estimate a person’s age based solely on a fundus image. But what exactly is it? A fundus image is a simple test that evaluates the condition of the retina, the blood vessels of the eyeball, and the optic nerve disc. This examination is common and is usually used to allow diagnosis of such diseases as macular degeneration or uveitic membrane diseases.
#IDBoardPearls#IDtwitter#IDPhotoQuiz— Ashka Patel, DO (@Ashka_TxID) July 20, 2021
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Working The Algorithm
Once the researchers had finished the algorithm and it was ready to use, they had given it a sizeable data set. According to reports, the program analyzed 80, 169 fundus images taken from 46, 969 middle-aged and elderly patients which were obtained from the UK’s Biobank, which is a medical database. Given the fact that the eye scans were from about 11 years ago, those working on it had information on subsequent disease and mortality among the patients, which would help along with their research.
Algorithm’s First Steps
But what did their process actually look like? Well, the first stage of the study compared the age estimated by the algorithm with the actual calendar age of the patients. This comparison had shown that it was able to determine a person’s age, based on the aforementioned fund image alone, with an accuracy of 3.5 years. The second stage had taken a closer look at whether the gap between “retinal age” and calendar age was related to the patient’s life expectancy.
What The Research Revealed
Looking over the data that they had obtained from the Biobank, the researchers had noted that during the decade following retinal scanning, 1,871 of the 47,000 patients had died. It was pointed out that most in that group were people whose retinal (as it was estimated by the algorithm) was higher than their calendar age. Looking over the findings, the authors had calculated that each year of age gap was the equivalent with a 2% increase in the risk of death from any cause and a 3% increase in the risk of death from causes that had been attributed to diseased other than cardiovascular and cancer.
What they had noted that was interesting was that no significant association was found between the gap and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease, although fundus images may reveal changes associated with atherosclerosis and hypertension. As the researchers had revealed, the lack of this association is due to the fact that most of these diseases are usually diagnosed early and can be treated effectively.
What The Study Told Researchers
And so, the results of this study had confirmed what the researchers had theorized that the retina is highly sensitive to damage from aging, and thus, it is an excellent material for assessing biological age and evaluating the risk of premature death. They added that the evidence supports the fact that the link between the brain and eye may actually support the view that the retina is the window of neurological disease.
Retina Could Really Be The Age Marker
The findings had suggested that the retina could be a potential biomarker of aging and its scanning be seen as a tool to assess this risk. However, the researchers had noted that at the time being the findings were purely observational and that they do not know the exact relationship between the two findings. Though they hope that in the future the simple test and algorithm will be enough to painlessly, quickly, and cost-effectively be able to figure out someone's biological age and spot the risk for premature disease development so that appropriate countermeasures could be implemented.
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