Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Sewing machine' idea gives insight into origins of Alzheimer's

Date:
April 1, 2014
Source:
Lancaster University
Summary:
A new imaging tool inspired by the humble sewing machine has been invented, providing fresh insight into the origins of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. These diseases are caused by tiny toxic proteins too small to be studied with traditional optical microscopy.

Researchers at Lancaster University have invented a new imaging tool inspired by the humble sewing machine which is providing fresh insight into the origins of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Related Articles


These diseases are caused by tiny toxic proteins too small to be studied with traditional optical microscopy. Previously it was thought that Alzheimer's was caused by the accumulation of long 'amyloid' fibres at the centre of senile plaques in the brain, due to improper folding of a protein called amyloid-β.

But new research suggests that these fibres and plaques are actually the body's protective response to the presence of even smaller, more toxic structures made from amyloid-β called 'oligomers'.

Existing techniques are not sufficient to get a good look at these proteins; optical microscopy does not provide enough resolution at this scale, and electron microscopy gives the resolution but not the contrast.

To solve the problem, Physicist Dr Oleg Kolosov and his team at Lancaster have developed a new imaging technique -- Ultrasonic Force Microscopy (UFM) -- inspired by the motion of a sewing machine. Their work has been published in Scientific Reports.

Dr Kolosov said: "By using a vibrating scanner, which moves quickly up and down like the foot of a sewing machine needle, the friction between the sample and the scanner was reduced -- resulting in a better quality, and high contrast nanometre scale resolution image."

It is one of a new generation of tools being developed worldwide to bring the oligomers into focus, enabling medical researchers to understand how they behave.

At Lancaster, Claire Tinker used UFM to image these oligomers. To help see them more clearly she needed to increase the contrast of the image and used poly-L-lysine (PLL) which kept the proteins stuck to the slides as the vibrating scanner was passed over them.

Lancaster University Biomedical Scientist Professor David Allsop said: "These high quality images are vitally important if we are to understand the pathways involved in formation of these oligomers, and this new technique will now be used to test the effects of inhibitors of oligomer formation that we are developing as a possible new treatment for Alzheimer's disease."

The technique worked so well that the team now hopes to develop it so that oligomer formation can be monitored as they are made in real time.

This would give researchers a clearer understanding of the early phases of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and could potentially be one way of developing a future test for these diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lancaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Claire Tinker-Mill, Jennifer Mayes, David Allsop, Oleg V. Kolosov. Ultrasonic force microscopy for nanomechanical characterization of early and late-stage amyloid-β peptide aggregation. Scientific Reports, 2014; 4 DOI: 10.1038/srep04004

Cite This Page:

Lancaster University. "'Sewing machine' idea gives insight into origins of Alzheimer's." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401122336.htm>.
Lancaster University. (2014, April 1). 'Sewing machine' idea gives insight into origins of Alzheimer's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401122336.htm
Lancaster University. "'Sewing machine' idea gives insight into origins of Alzheimer's." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401122336.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) — While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) — European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) — According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) — Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins