Recent studies show that 40 percent of Americans over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease, and that the disease begins 10 to 20 years before people show up at the doctor’s office with memory problems.
One major problem with understanding Alzheimer’s is not being able to clearly see why the disease starts. A super-resolution “nanoscope” developed by Purdue University researchers now provides a 3D view of brain molecules with 10 times greater detail. This imaging technique could help reveal how the disease progresses and where new treatments could intervene.
The instrument helped Indiana University researchers better understand the structure of plaques that form in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, pinpointing the characteristics that are possibly responsible for damage.
“While strictly a research tool for the foreseeable future, this technology has allowed us to see how the plaques are assembled and remodeled during the disease process,” said Gary Landreth, professor of anatomy and cell biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Stark Neurosciences Research Institute. “It gives insight into the biological causes of the disease, so that we can see if we can stop the formation of these damaging structures in the brain.”
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