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Research breakthrough 'could lead to new Alzheimer's treatments'

Research breakthrough 'could lead to new Alzheimer's treatments'
14th July 2011

New findings could make detecting Alzheimer's disease "as simple as switching on a light", according to a Rice University team.

Researchers have developed a technique which involves metallic molecules predisposed to attach themselves to beta amyloid proteins which form plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.

When these molecules latch onto the amyloid fibrils, their photoluminescence is increased 50-fold, essentially lighting up the problem area.

The technique, which utilises complexes of dipyridophenazine ruthenium, is likely to help researchers design better medications to treat the condition.

Lead author Nathan Cook aims to treat Alzheimer's, and potentially other neurodegenerative conditions, by combining this ability to target fibrils and the potential of other molecules to dissolve them in the brain.

In other news, scientists at Dalhousie University in Canada have found that seemingly irrelevant health conditions can increase the risk of developing dementia.

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