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Biosensor to display the progress of Alzheimer’s disease

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image source: convergence.ucsb.edu

New York: A team of researchers led by an Indian-American scientist has developed a portable biosensor that can display the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in a patient.

A test on the cheap and simple biosensor can measure the level of a protein called beta-amyloid, increased level of which leads to the degeneration of brain cells and causes Alzheimer’s, in the blood at tiny concentrations in just half an hour.

“We want to develop a point of care system, where a small drop of blood plasma can reveal their beta-amyloid level immediately so that a doctor can tailor a patient’s therapy immediately,” said lead author Ajeet Kaushik from the University of Florida in the US.

The protein, which is found in lower levels in the blood, makes it a useful biomarker to diagnose and monitor the disease progression.

A quick test on the biosensor can reveal a clinician to collect accurate information on the progression of the disease and see what is happening to a patient over time.

It will also show if and when the disease reaches an untreatable level, the authors reported in the study published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

The researchers pointed out that the affordable test can be useful in both developed countries and rural settings. Also with the right data, doctors can respond quickly to changes in a patient’s brain by reducing or increasing their dose of drugs. (IANS)

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This drink may help ward off Alzheimer’s: Scientist

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Alzheimer's disease. Wikipedia

New York, October 31’2017: Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a nutrient mix that has shown potential to slow down cognitive impairment in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The drink, called Souvenaid is aimed at treating “the root cause” of Alzheimer’s, which is the loss of brain synapses.

 Souvenaid contains omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon and mackeral along with high doses of Vitamin B13, B, C and E.

The mixture increases production of new synapses and restores connectivity between brain regions, improving memory and other cognitive functions, the researchers reported, in the MIT Technology Review.

In the new clinical trial, published in the journal Lancet Neurology, the team conducted a 24-month trial, where more than 300 patients with prodromal Alzheimer’s — the predementia stage of Alzheimer’s with mild symptoms — were randomly assigned Souvenaid or a placebo.

The patients taking Souvenaid showed about 45 per cent less cognitive decline than people taking the placebo.

Patients who drank Souvenaid showed less worsening in everyday cognitive and functional performance and improvement in verbal-memory performance.

“It feels like science-fiction, where you can take a drink of Souvenaid and you get more synapses…for improved cognitive function. But it works,” said Richard Wurtman, Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

Importantly, Souvenaid led to a 26 per cent reduction in the loss of hippocampal volume, which is caused early in Alzheimer’s by brain tissue loss.

The results indicate that Souvenaid may be able to slow or stop full progression of very early Alzheimer’s into a full-blown disease, Wurtman noted.

The findings could encourage more researchers to view synapse restoration as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.

“Everyone who writes about Alzheimer’s knows there’s a synapse deficiency, and this impairs connections between brain regions. Even if the amyloid or another problem gets solved, one way or another, you’ll have to replace these synapses,” Wurtman said.(IANS)

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You May Soon Be Able to Prevent Chikungunya With Vaccines! IIT-Roorkee Researchers Discover Drug to Fight the Disease

At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease

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cases of dengue
Dengue and Chikungunya are viral diseases transmitted to humans via infected mosquitoes. Pixabay

Roorkee, October 9, 2017 : Dengue and Chikungunya are known to strike fear in the country every year, so much so that the health graph of the city registers a steep rise in these cases. Both of the water-borne diseases, characterized by high fever and pain in the joints, take a toll on our lives. So far, there is no vaccine to immunize people against the spread of the Dengue and Chikungunya virus. However, researchers at IIT-Roorkee have now discovered that a commonly-utilized de-worming drug can be efficiently used for treatments against Chikungunya.

According to a report by PTI, Shailly Tomar, lead researcher and a professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in Uttarakhand was quoted as saying, “Our research has shown that piperazine, a drug existing in the market, is successful in curbing the spread and replication of the Chikungunya virus in a lab setting.”

The drug, Piperazine, is usually used in de-worming treatments against round-words and pinworms. Using their expertise in virology and structure biology, experts have now discovered the anti-viral capabilities of the drug that can potentially prompt new therapies against the fatal, mosquito borne disease.

The researchers are currently testing the molecule on animals, and will consequently take it to clinical trials.

ALSO READ What preventive steps have the city Government taken to control Dengue and Chikungunya, asks the Delhi High Court

The molecular details uncovered in the study, which has been published in the journal Antiviral Research, will be additionally used to plan piperazine-derivative medications that are more compelling to fight against the Chikungunya virus.

Using X-ray crystallographic technique, in combination with computational science and fluorescence strategies, the researchers discovered that piperazine binds itself with the hydrophobic (water-hating) pocket of capsid protein present in the Chikungunya virus, which can reduce the spread of the virus.

“This pocket is key to the replication of the virus and its spread inside a host. Inhibiting the pocket prevents budding and spread of the virus and can help in treating the virus effectively using existing drugs,” Tomar said.

Chikungunya has become a major public health concern, with an increasing number of people being plagued by the disease every year.

 At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease. 

Developing a new anti-viral drug molecule can take up to 10 years. To tend to the disease on an immediate basis, Professor Tomar added, “We are looking at repositioning existing, approved drugs and testing these to see if they might inhibit or kill pathogenic viruses.”

 

 

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Multi-gene Test Found Effective in Predicting Alzheimer’s Dementia

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Alzheimer
Alzheimer Disease. IANS

San Francisco, Sep 24, 2017:  In a new test, a research team has found that combining the effects of over two dozen genetic variants help in predicting which cognitively normal older adults will go on to develop Alzheimer’s dementia.

The advantage of the test, known as Polygenic Hazard Score (PHS), is relative to testing only for the well-known genetic variant APOE E4, which has been considered the strongest genetic predictor of whether someone is likely to develop Alzheimer’s — a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time.

However, APOE E4 is only carried by 10 to 15 per cent of the population and recent research suggests that its effects have been overstated, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Publishing their findings this week in Annals of Neurology, the team, led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and the University of California, San Diego, believes that the PHS test could provide risk estimates for the remaining 85 to 90 per cent of people who do not carry at least one copy of APOE E4.

Also Read: Yoga and these 5 Foods Prevent from Alzheimer’s & Will Boost your Memory 

“Beyond APOE E4 by itself, our polygenic hazard score can identify cognitively normal and mildly impaired older folks who are at greatest risk for developing Alzheimer’s associated clinical decline over time,” Chin Hong Tan from UCSF and the paper’s first author was quoted as saying.

Researchers found that PHS test could predict how long it would take for them to progress to Alzheimer’s dementia and how steep their cognitive decline would be.

The test enables the researchers to calculate an age-specific risk of developing Alzheimer’s based upon each person’s share of 31 genetic variants plus APOE E4. (IANS)