Your local optician may soon be able to detect early warning signs that you are developing Alzheimer's disease. Using a simple eye test, the optician will have the technology to spot nerve cell death, which is a sign of brain degeneration. The test, which uses laser technology, is safe and non-invasive, researchers say, and should be available for use on humans very soon. Up to now, it's been tested on animals. Researchers at University College London, who are helping to develop the new technology, are hoping that it will also be able to detect early-stage glaucoma. The key, says Prof Francesca Cordeiro at UCL's Institute of Ophthalmology, is the ability to see cell death occurring in real time which, until now, has not been possible. (Source: Cell Death and Disease, 2010; 1: e3; doi: 10.1038/cddis.2009.3).