Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

X-ray eyes bring us closer to early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease

16.02.2009
It is estimated that 4 million people world-wide are suffering from Parkinson's, a complex disease that varies greatly among affected individuals. Understanding the brain chemistry that leads to the onset of Parkinson's is vital if we are to develop methods for early MRI diagnosis and new treatments for this devastating disease.

Speaking at the AAAS Meeting in Chicago, Dr Joanna Collingwood, from Keele University, will present new results from studies carried out, in collaboration with Dr Mark Davidson from the University of Florida (UF), at Diamond - the UK's national synchrotron.

Their results show that the distribution of metal ions in the brain tissue of sufferers is altered by the disease process. By studying the tissue as a whole, it has been possible to map metal distribution throughout the brain region containing the vulnerable motor neurones in Parkinson's disease in a region where they had earlier shown that iron levels nearly double in individual cells [Oakley 2007]. The primary support for this research is provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK.

Dr Collingwood comments, "Our studies at Diamond involve a technique called microfocus spectroscopy, in which powerful, tightly focussed beams of X-rays penetrate our tissue samples. We have been able to investigate human tissue with such precision that metal ions, particularly iron levels, in and around individual cells can be mapped. What makes the microfocus synchrotron approach so unique is that we can also use the focussed beam to obtain information about the form in which the iron is stored. Thanks to several years of work on optimizing the tissue preparation method at the Materials Research Collaborative Access Team at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) led by Dr. Davidson and Drs. Jon Dobson, of Keele and Chris Batich of UF, the technique is pioneering in that it does not change the distribution or form of the metals in the tissue being studied. We are grateful to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA for supporting this vital work. The impact of tissue preparation on the metal ions has been overlooked in many research projects in this area to date".

"To move this research on into the clinical arena, we need to determine how much the contrast change seen by clinicians in the MRI scan results is directly due to changes in iron distribution and form. Improving our understanding of the biochemical aspects of the disease should in the long term contribute to improved therapeutic approaches and also provide potential openings for early MRI detection and diagnosis. Early diagnosis is key because we know that by the time a typical individual presents with the symptoms of the disease, chemical changes have already caused significant cell death of vulnerable motor neurones. We have been working closely with Dr. John Forder and Dr. Keith White at the Mcknight Brain Institute at UF to begin MRI studies of early diagnosis and translate the results from Diamond and the APS in Chicago into clinical relevance."

Due to the ageing of the world population, the importance of Parkinson's disease as a public health issue is expected increasing. The ultimate goal of this research is to find a method for early diagnosis so that medical treatment can begin as soon as chemical changes are detected and before the irreversible cell death takes place.

Treatment to remove or inactivate metals in the body is already available for people suffering from iron overload disorders, and is known as chelation therapy. As improvements in scanning techniques enable earlier detection of changes in the brain, it may be possible to diagnose Parkinson's disease much earlier and, with further advances in therapeutic research, find chelation-based therapeutic approaches for patients to intervene before they experience irreversible levels of cell loss. In the case of Parkinson's disease, a more targeted approach is necessary, as the overall systemic iron levels are not elevated. Rather, local regions affected by the disease are involved, making the knowledge obtained by the synchrotron techniques more critical to the design of appropriate treatments.

Sarah Bucknall | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.diamond.ac.uk
http://www.keele.ac.uk/research/istm/
http://www.ufl.edu

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht A first look at interstitial fluid flow in the brain
05.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht A sentinel to watch over ocular pressure
04.07.2018 | Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>