The back of the eye or retina is an extension to the brain, sharing a blood supply and nerve tissue. It is easily imaged non-invasively by machines that are very quick and comfortable for the person being examined. Many people are familiar with the technology as it is commonly used to check eye health when visiting the high street optician.
The Ophthalmology Group is interested in how images from these machines can be used in new ways with the aim of determining which ones might be most useful for dementia. We are also looking at whether there are any links with the retina and other brain changes such as those seen with MRI brain imaging, and tests of mental ability.
In addition, the group has expertise in computer modelling, through an approach called machine learning, to see whether different markers of change in the human body could be used in combination with each other to determine someone’s future risk of developing dementia.
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Retinal Vascular Fractal Dimension, Childhood IQ, and Cognitive Ability in Old Age: The Lothian Birth Cohort Study 1936. Taylor, A. M., Macgillivray, T. J., Henderson, R. D., Ilzina, L., Dhillon, B., Starr, J. M. & Deary, I. J. 27 Mar 2015 In : PLoS One. 10, 3, e0121119
Retinal imaging as a source of biomarkers for diagnosis, characterization and prognosis of chronic illness or long-term conditions. Macgillivray, T. J., Trucco, E., Cameron, J., Dhillon, B., Houston, J. G. & Van Beek, E. J. R. Aug 2014 In : British Journal of Radiology. 87, 1040, 16 p., 20130832
Differences in retinal vessels support a distinct vasculopathy causing lacunar stroke. Doubal, F., MacGillivray, T. J., Hokke, P. E., Dhillon, B., Dennis, M. S. & Wardlaw, J. M. 19 May 2009 In : Neurology. 72, 20, p. 1773-1778 6.
Leverhulme Trust- Discovery of retinal biomarkers for genetics with large cross-linked datasets- 2011-2015- £221,543
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Multi-modal retinal biomarkers for vascular dementia: developing enabling image analysis tools- 2014-2017-£923,000
Diabetes UK- Improved phenotyping of microvascular changes in Diabetic Retinopathy with Multi-level data-2016-2019-£199,431
SINAPSE & Optos-Assessing neurodegeneration of the retina and brain with ultra-wide-field retinal imaging- 2016-2019-£60,000