There may be new hope on the horizon for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. By using a new MRI probe, researchers are detecting the toxins that are responsible for the onset of the disease. These toxins are called amyloid beta brain toxins, and if researchers can detect them early enough, it’s more likely that they could develop therapies that would be effective in fighting Alzheimer’s.

You’ve probably heard of plaques, which are present at later stages of Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, by the time plaques are seen, most interventions won’t work. But this new MRI probe detects brain toxins that contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s, so they are present very early on. And as an added bonus, it seems that this MRI probe binds to these toxins, minimizing the amount of damage they can do!

Researchers worked with mouse models of Alzheimer’s, and through MRI scans using the new probe, they were able to clearly detect amyloid beta brain toxins attached to neurons. And when they imaged brain samples from human patients who had died from Alzheimer’s, they found that the MRI probe also detected the same toxins in human brain tissue! Mouse models of human disease can be very helpful, and the hope is that results seen in animal studies will translate into human studies. Read more about this research here.

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