Alzheimer’s disease and the present technology

Alzheimer’s disease is a medical disorder resulting in dementia especially in later life. Our study shows that technology is making more efforts in early diagnosis of the disease and less effort in the therapeutic field. This may be due to the significant work of the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies in the therapeutic field.

Here we have collected some of the technological advancements against Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimers disease

In diagnosis:

Use of Infra-red light:

In 2008, researchers found that Infra red light could help us in accurate and early detection of the disease. This technology is helpful in checking for changes to the optical properties of the brain that resulted from the disease.

Use of wireless network:

In 2009, researchers from University of South Florida developed a wireless network. They utilized a series of receivers placed around the building and RFID transponders worn by the participants or patients on the wrist. This system was helpful to check the walking patterns and other actions of the participants that would help to detect the chances of Alzheimer’s disease.

Use of X-ray:

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University in the same year developed, i.e. diffraction-enhanced imaging (DEI) in a high-resolution mode called micro-computed tomography, to look at the tiny plaques that are dense accumulated proteins in the brain and could represent Alzheimer’s disease.

Although the technique was harmful due to the radiation dose but the researchers were hopeful for better imaging techniques.

Use of “Twisted light”:

In the year 2010, researchers created “Super twisted” light. Twisted light or optical vortexes were discovered in 1974 and have been used in spectroscopy since then. In 2010, researchers published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology that the super-twisted light could be used for biosensing of proteins.

“Due to the nature of the twisted light, it has been shown to be particularly effective at detecting proteins with a structure characteristic of amyloids, insoluble proteins that can stick together to form plaques within different organs in the body. It is these plaques which are thought to play a part in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and CJD, though the reasons for this are unclear,” Dr Malcolm Kadodwala, senior lecturer in the (UG) School of Chemistry developed.

Software tool:

Recently, researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland and Imperial College London have developed a software tool, dubbed PredictAD that could help to detect the disease at early stages by comparing the results of the patients with the material in the database of the software.

Device:

In developed, researchers from Georgia Tech and Emory University have developed the device for rapid detection of Alzheimer’s disease in the earlier stages. This device is composed of a head-worn visor with a built-in LCD, headphones and a handheld controller with a ten-minute DETECT test. In the device, patients or participants will go through a series of visual and auditory tests that “assess cognitive abilities relative to age,” check for the reaction time and measure the memorizing capabilities.

The developers of this technology made a a firm (Zenda Technologies) to commercialize its device that gives nearly the same results that a “gold standard” pen and paper test gives.

In therapy:

Alzheimer’s Helmet:

Researchers in 2008 utilized the X-ray imaging technique a helmet that produced a type of infra-red light and caused them to move through the brain for ten minutes a day. This process was found helpful in reversing the loss of memory in mice.

Use of so-called “brain pacemakers”

In a recent study, researchers have found that the deep-brain electrical stimulation, through the so-called “brain pacemakers”, could help us against Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers worked on six patients for a year and found increased glucose consumption in PET scans of the learning and memory areas of the brain i.e. increased neuronal activity. In the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) glucose metabolism usually decreases.

“Given the urgent need for progress and the ongoing challenges in drug research for Alzheimer’s, we are excited to assess a completely new circuitry-based approach that could offer hope,” David Wolk, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Assistant Director of the Penn Memory Center, said in a statement.