Biomedical Science News

Display News Filters

Researchers claim huge Alzheimers breakthrough

Friday 10th August 2018
Researchers have discovered metallic changes in the brains of Alzheimers sufferers that could be used to develop new treatments for the condition.
Latest Jobs

Researchers have reported making a major breakthrough into the understanding of how Alzheimer's disease progresses, potentially aiding the development of new therapies. 

A team led by experts from University of Warwick and Keele University, joined by other researchers from the University of Florida and The University of Texas at San Antonio, used X-rays to study chemical changes in the brain, particularly changes in the kind of metallic minerals that were present.

Examining the brains of deceased sufferers, the study identified the formation of chemically reduced iron deposits in the form of a magnetic iron oxide called magnetite. This is seldom found in the human brain, but was present in large quantities in amyloid protein plaques. This led to the formulation of a hypothesis that these deposits are produced when plaques are formed.

The theory postulated that the formation of magnetite could help explain the rise in toxicity associated with the onset and progression of Alzheimer's.

According to the researchers, understanding more about how these metals impact the brain and the impact of interventions that impede their formation could enable new and more effective therapies to be developed. 

Associate professor at the University of Warwick’s School of Engineering and expert in trace metals analysis, high resolution imaging, and neurodegenerative disorders Dr Joanna Collingwood said: “Iron is an essential element in the brain, so it is critical to understand how its management is affected in Alzheimer’s disease."

Explaining how X-rays were used to establish changes in metallic chemistry in the brain, she added that researchers are "excited" as the findings "coincide with efforts by others to treat Alzheimer’s disease with iron-modifying drugs".

The role of Warwick University in biomedical science may become more prominent in the next few years, following the submission of a planning application to build new facilities for medical research on Gibbett Hill campus in Coventry. 

Its £54m Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building would bring together 300 researchers from the School of Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School under the same roof.

Written by Martin Lambert

Mediplacements is a genuine specialist medical recruitment company. Contact us to see the latest biomedical science jobs.

Image: iStockADNFCR-1780-ID-801847970-ADNFCR

Related News