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Brain Scan Recognizes Alzheimer’s Disease

Brain Scan Recognizes Alzheimer’s Disease

By Marietta Gross - Scoop Media Auckland

Scoop Report: Protein agglutinations in the brain are indicators for Alzheimer’s disease. Now scientists have developed a method to prove it within living patients.

Researcher Takaomi Saido and his colleagues from the Riken Brain Science Institute in Wako, Japan, have found a substance, which helps to make amyloid-plaques visible in the magnetic-resonance-imaging scanner (MRI scanner). The substance consists of fluorine, which is often added to drinking water, and hydrogen in a form, which sticks to the plaques. MRI scanners are already used in many hospitals.

The above imaging technique is able to detect amyloid-plaques in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. This technique that identifies protein agglutinations should enable the treatment of patients, even before the first symptoms of the dementia emerge.

During research, scientists injected a compound, which is called “FSB”, into the brain of healthy mice and genetically engineered mice, in whose brains plaques were formed. These animals served as role models of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Harmful side effects of FSB were not observed.

Saido reports in the online magazine “Nature Neuroscience”, that they could make the plaques visible with only little doses of FSB. The technique showed brain regions where the plaques had been formed. Until now, plaques which are typical for Alzheimer's patients could only be definitely verified in an autopsy.

The safety of the FSB-method must be proven with further studies before it can be applied for human patients. Scientists plan to continue experiments with mice. The animals will be multiply examined and the progress of the disease will be tracked. Moreover the effect of experimental substances will be tested.

Saido will present this method on the meeting of Alzheimer- and Parkinson-Disease in Sorrento, Italy.

© Scoop Media

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