New Technique Identifies Early Alzheimer’s An interdisciplinary team of Northwestern University scientists and engineers has developed a noninvasive method to detect Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages, well before typical symptoms appear. The study appears in Nature Nanotechnology. Led by neuroscientist William L. Klein and materials scientist Vinayak P. Dravid, the team developed a brain ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   February 01, 2015
New Technique Identifies Early Alzheimer’s
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Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   February 01, 2015
New Technique Identifies Early Alzheimer’s
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB6.20022015.np
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB6.20022015.np
An interdisciplinary team of Northwestern University scientists and engineers has developed a noninvasive method to detect Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages, well before typical symptoms appear. The study appears in Nature Nanotechnology.
Led by neuroscientist William L. Klein and materials scientist Vinayak P. Dravid, the team developed a brain imaging method that can detect the toxin that leads to Alzheimer’s disease. The probe pairs a magnetic nanostructure with an antibody that seeks out the amyloid beta brain toxins responsible for onset of the disease. The accumulated toxins appear as dark areas in MRI scans of the brain.
This ability to detect the molecular toxins may one day enable scientists to spot trouble early—and to better design drugs or therapies to combat and monitor the disease. AD affects one out of nine people older than 65.
The new technology detects toxic amyloid beta oligomers, which may appear more than a decade before amyloid plaques that current methods detect. Amyloid beta oligomers now are widely believed to be the culprit in the onset of AD and subsequent memory loss by attacking the synapses of neurons, destroying memory and ultimately resulting in neuron death. Over time, the amyloid beta starts to stick together, forming the amyloid plaques.
The researchers also observed that the behavior of mice in trial with Alzheimer’s improved—even after receiving a single dose of the MRI probe. This finding suggests that the probe could be used not only as a diagnostic tool but also as a therapeutic one.
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February 2015
Volume 20, Issue 2