A quick sniff of a nasal spray sends microscopic metal particles into the brain, where they target and destroy the damaging proteins of Alzheimer’s disease.
No Alzheimer’s? No problem—the metal particles pass out of the body safely. Such is the promise of technology being developed by neuroscientist William Klein and nanotechnologist Vinayak Dravid of Northwestern University. The pair has invented a nanotech-based early-detection system that might one day deliver targeted treatments.
Klein and Dravid created an antibody—an immune molecule that detects specific chemical structures—that binds to a particle implicated in Alzheimer’s. They linked the antibody to a nanoscale arrangement of iron oxide compounds, similar to rust, which can be seen with magnetic resonance imaging. The brain scan could detect the disease early on, so patients can start treatment sooner than they can today. “Once the chain reaction of negative events starts, it’s like a lit fuse. You want to intervene as soon as possible,” Klein says.
Globs of beta-amyloid protein called plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. But these days most neuroscientists agree that a tiny particle form of the same protein, called an oligomer, is the primary toxin in the illness. Eventually these smaller structures glom together to form plaques, but by then they have already damaged brain cells. The antibody created at Northwestern binds to the toxic oligomers and could one day deliver therapies to the brain or help clinicians evaluate how a patient is responding to a new medication.
The Latest on: Alzheimer’s Disease
See How Alzheimer's Affects a Couple Over 10 Years on 60 Minutes
on April 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm
both face the devastating health consequences of this disease that has zero cure. The story begins in 2008 when Carol’s dementia was just becoming obvious and then traces her decline as well as Mike’s quite dramatic journey. The story shines a light on ... […]
Alzheimer's Q&A: Can someone with Alzheimer's maintain their creativity?
on April 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm
In late 2016, research from the Neuroscience Research Australia found that people with Alzheimer's disease suddenly had creative skills like painting, drawing or singing, which were not previously evident. According to Olivier Piquety, the study's lead ... […]
Letter: Katko supports important research into Alzheimer's disease
on April 21, 2018 at 10:30 pm
Alzheimer’s disease affects 5.7 million Americans, including 400,000 here in New York State. As the sixth leading cause of death and the only one that cannot be prevented, treated or cured, medical and scientific research is essential to bring us closer ... […]
60 Minutes segment to show S.I. family's 10-year experience with Alzheimer's
on April 21, 2018 at 6:08 pm
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- An upcoming 60 Minutes segment will document the 10-year experience of a Staten Island woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and the loyal husband who has served as her caretaker. Carol and Mike Daly of Sunnyside welcomed Dr. Jon ... […]
$1.3M Grant Aims to Develop Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease
on April 20, 2018 at 2:15 pm
A San Diego research institute has been awarded a $1.3 million federal grant to fund critical research for families devastated by Alzheimer's Disease. Inside the Conrad Prebys Center For Chemical Genomics researchers hope to zero in on specific chemical ... […]
Landmark Alzheimer’s study urgently seeks volunteers
on April 20, 2018 at 2:04 pm
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death overall in the United States and affects more than 5 million Americans. According to experts, this number could triple to nearly 16 million people by 2050. A momentous scientific study focused on ea ... […]
Alzheimer's disease film to be screened at Barnstable Senior Center
on April 20, 2018 at 10:06 am
For Pamela Schwabe of the Alzheimer’s Association, staying ahead of cognitive disease is key in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. “It’s a tidal wave and it’s coming,” Schwabe says about Alzheimer-related illnesses. “It’s a national ... […]
What the rise of dementia may mean for your financial future
on April 20, 2018 at 9:46 am
Learning to spot those early signs not only helps families diagnose their loved one, but it also helps mitigate the many financial impacts of the disease. Sadly, the rate of dementia-related diagnoses is rising sharply. According to the Alzheimer’s ... […]
Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Significantly Reduced in Skin Cancer Survivors, but We Don’t Know Why
on April 20, 2018 at 9:22 am
Skin cancer may reduce a patient’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 92 percent, a new study revealed. Although it’s not clear why, there appears to be an association between lower Alzheimer’s disease risk in patients with ... […]
Cure Alzheimer's Fund PSA Focused on the Impact of Alzheimer's Disease Playing in More than 1,200 Movie Theaters Nationwide
on April 20, 2018 at 9:10 am
A new public service announcement (PSA) created by BBDO New York on behalf of Cure Alzheimer's Fund has been released and is now playing in over 1200 movie theaters nationwide. The 2 minute film directed by David Shane of O Positive Films, titled "Daughter ... […]
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