New technique could benefit Alzheimer's diagnosis

September 1, 2014 by Lea Kivivali, Swinburne University of Technology
New technique could benefit Alzheimer's diagnosis
Ultrashort-laser pulses were used to write ripples on the surface of sapphire. The self-organised nano-structure of ripples (seen in the image) is a perfect sensing surface after coating with a nanometre-thin layer of gold made by evaporation or sputtering. Such surface ripples were used in the study of amyloid detection. 

Swinburne researchers have developed a technique to create a highly sensitive surface for measuring the concentration of a peptide that is a biomarker for early stage Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease was first recorded more than 100 years ago, but there is still no effective therapy to stop or slow the progression of the disease. Sufferers can lose up to 60 per cent of their before a diagnosis is obtained.

Diagnosis at the very early stages before has begun is vital for testing and developing new treatments.

Abnormality of the beta amyloid peptide in cerebrospinal fluid appears to be the earliest and most significant marker of Alzheimer's. Currently there are no standardised tests to detect these biomarkers.

The researchers have developed a sensor based on nanotechnology that outperforms commercial sensors and demonstrates fast and reliable measurement of beta amyloid oligomers at low concentrations.

The key to the high sensitivity is the laser nano-textured gold coated surface. This sensor can identify concentrations of beta amyloid in a quantitative manner for the first time.

"We showed that sensors based on light scattering can indeed deliver QUANTATIVE measurements and they can be made fast," Professor of Nanophotonics Saulius Juodkazis said.

"The sensor platform we developed by laser nano-texturing of surfaces is delivering results of the highest sensitivity and repeatability.

"The challenge is to create fast and efficient fabrication of sensors based on nanotechnology and develop new analytical methods of detection. This means we should be able to detect markers of diseases at far lower levels."

Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is one of the most sensitive and highly specific label-free detection methods which may evolve as a detection technique for different forms of or as a rapid, low cost technique to validate new biomarkers before developing standard assays for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs).

This research is a PhD project work of Dr Ricardas Buividas who received his doctorate in May 2014. It was published in the Journal of Biophotonics.

Explore further: Scientists much closer to developing screening test for early detection of Alzheimer's disease

More information: Buividas, R., Dzingelevičius, N., Kubiliūtė, R., Stoddart, P. R., Khanh Truong, V., Ivanova, E. P. and Juodkazis, S. (2014), "Statistically quantified measurement of an Alzheimer's marker by surface-enhanced Raman scattering." J. Biophoton.. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201400017

Related Stories

Scientists much closer to developing screening test for early detection of Alzheimer's disease

May 1, 2013
They identified blood-based biological markers that are associated with the build up of a toxic protein in the brain which occurs years before symptoms appear and irreversible brain damage has occurred.

Key cellular auto-cleaning mechanism mediates the formation of plaques in Alzheimer's brain

October 3, 2013
Autophagy, a key cellular auto-cleaning mechanism, mediates the formation of amyloid beta plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. It might be a potential drug target for the treatment of the disease, concludes ...

Marijuana compound may offer treatment for Alzheimer's disease

August 27, 2014
Extremely low levels of the compound in marijuana known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, may slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer's disease, a recent study from neuroscientists at the University of South Florida ...

A new test might facilitate diagnosis and drug development for Alzheimer's disease

March 23, 2012
An international team of researchers have developed a new method for measurement of aggregated beta-amyloid – a protein complex believed to cause major nerve cell damage and dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease. The new ...

How Alzheimer's peptides shut down cellular powerhouses

August 29, 2014
The failing in the work of nerve cells: An international team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Chris Meisinger from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Freiburg has discovered how Alzheimer's ...

Recommended for you

What really causes Alzheimer's and how might we fix it?

May 23, 2018
There have been a lot of theories about what causes Alzheimer's disease. Many of them have given rise to experimental treatments of one form or another. None of them have worked much better than taking anything you might ...

Study predicts most people with earliest Alzheimer's signs won't develop dementia associated with the disease

May 22, 2018
During the past decade, researchers have identified new ways to detect the earliest biological signs of Alzheimer's disease. These early signs, which are detected by biomarkers, may be present before a person starts to exhibit ...

Moderate to high intensity exercise does not slow cognitive decline in people with dementia

May 16, 2018
Moderate to high intensity exercise does not slow cognitive (mental) impairment in older people with dementia, finds a trial published by The BMJ today.

Mutation discovered to protect against Alzheimer's disease in mice

May 16, 2018
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science have discovered a mutation that can protect against Alzheimer's disease in mice. Published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the study found that a specific ...

Most deprived are nearly twice as likely to develop dementia

May 16, 2018
Older adults in England with fewer financial resources are more likely to develop dementia, according to new UCL research.

Scientists discover a variation of the genome predisposing to Alzheimer's disease

May 15, 2018
An article published in Nature Medicine shows that the inheritance of small changes in DNA alters the expression of the PM20D1 gene and is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.