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AI-supported test for very early signs of glaucoma progression

A patient’s retina showing hyperfluorescent signals – each white spot is a single ‘sick’ retinal nerve cell. Imagery supported by DARC technology used in the Phase II clinical trial. Credit: UCL/Western Eye Hospital

A new test can detect glaucoma progression 18 months earlier than the current gold standard method, according to results from a UCL-sponsored clinical trial.

The technology, supported by an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, could help accelerate , and eventually may be used in detection and diagnostics, according to the Wellcome-funded study published today in Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics.

Lead researcher Professor Francesca Cordeiro (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Imperial College London, and Western Eye Hospital Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust) said: “We have developed a quick, automated and highly sensitive way to identify which people with glaucoma are at risk of rapid progression to blindness.”

Glaucoma, the leading global cause of irreversible blindness, affects over 60 million people, which is predicted to double by 2040 as the global population ages. Loss of sight in glaucoma is caused by the death of cells in the retina, at the back of the eye.

The test, called DARC (Detection of Apoptosing Retinal Cells), involves injecting into the bloodstream (via the arm) a fluorescent dye that attaches to , and illuminates those that are in the process of apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death. The damaged cells appear bright white when viewed in eye examinations—the more detected, the higher the DARC count.

One challenge with evaluating eye diseases is that specialists often disagree when viewing the same scans, so the researchers have incorporated an AI algorithm into their method.

In the Phase II clinical trial of DARC, the AI was used to assess 60 of the study participants (20 with glaucoma and 40

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Diabetes and Your Heart | CDC

You can lower your risk for heart disease with lifestyle changes.

Diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand. Learn how to protect your heart with simple lifestyle changes that can also help you manage diabetes.

Heart disease is very common and serious. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. If you have diabetes, you’re twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke than someone who doesn’t have diabetes—and at a younger age. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to have heart disease.

But the good news is that you can lower your risk for heart disease and improve your heart health by changing certain lifestyle habits. Those changes will help you manage diabetes better too.

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease includes several kinds of problems that affect your heart. The term “cardiovascular disease” is similar but includes all types of heart disease, stroke, and blood vessel disease. The most common type is coronary artery disease, which affects blood flow to the heart.

Coronary artery disease is caused by the buildup of plaque in the walls of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply oxygen and blood to the heart. Plaque is made of cholesterol deposits, which make the inside of arteries narrow and decrease blood flow. This process is called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Decreased blood flow to the heart can cause a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke.

Hardening of the arteries can happen in other parts of the body too. In the legs and feet, it’s called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. PAD is often the first sign that a person with diabetes has cardiovascular disease.

How Diabetes Affects