A biomedical-imaging technique that would highlight the cytoskeletal infrastructure of nerve cells and map the nervous system as it develops and struggles to repair itself has been proposed by biophysics researchers at Cornell and Harvard universities.
Reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS June 10, 2003) , the researchers say that besides the new imaging technique’s obvious applications in studying the dynamics of nervous system development, it could answer the puzzle about which errant pathways initiate damage to brain cells, a key question about the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The PNAS report, "Uniform polarity microtubule assemblies imaged in native brain tissue by second harmonic generation microscopy," is the work of Watt W. Webb, professor of applied physics at Cornell and leader of the research program. His laboratory collaborators in the School of Applied and Engineering Physics are graduate students Daniel A. Dombeck and Harshad D. Vishwasrao and research associate Karl A. Kasischke, M.D. Martin Ingelsson and Bradley T. Hyman of Massachusetts General Hospital, the largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, also are collaborators.
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