New brain X-rays can potentially diagnose and treat the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, researchers at Sweden’s Lund University have identified certain changes in the brain using a synchrotron accelerator, a type of super-bright, high-quality X-ray machine, that show the very beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment, which is good news for the predicted 15 million Americans who may start to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. This is triple the number of those currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Huffington Post reports that researchers have previously observed a buildup of a protein that creates harmful plaque and other damage in the brain as the first stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This process kills off the healthy neurons in the brain until it eventually stops functioning. The synchrotron accelarator showed that the plaque-causing proteins have a different structure than was previously assumed and is similar to another abnormal protein which causes transthyretin amyloidosis. Researchers at Lund University are excited because there is already a drug available that works to slow down transthyretin amyloidosis and may be appropriate to treat beginning stages Alzheimer’s disease.
With these new X-rays, we could eventually diagnose and treat the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, which is news we are excited to hear.