The team of Northwestern University scientists and engineers has developed this approach that can detect the disease at the earliest stages of the disease, well before typical Alzheimer's symptoms appear.
Neuroscientist William L. Klein said that the ability to detect amyloid beta oligomers, was important for two reasons: amyloid beta oligomers are the toxins that damage neurons, and the oligomers are the first sign of trouble in the disease process, appearing before any other pathology.
This ability to detect the molecular toxins might one day enable scientists to both spot trouble early and better design drugs or therapies to combat and monitor the disease.
And, while not the focus of the study, early evidence suggested that the MRI probe improves memory, too, by binding to the toxins to render them "handcuffed" to do further damage.
The research is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
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