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Nadine, Sharon, Marjorie, Pat
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If you want to explore the world of podcasts - insightful broadcasts available at your convenience - enjoy!

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A Blood Test Can Detect whether Alzheimer's Plaques Are Building up in a Person’s Brain

This would be great indeed!

A study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid beta in their brains or cerebrospinal fluid. Ideally, a blood-based screening test would identify people who have started down the path toward Alzheimer’s years before they could be diagnosed based on symptoms.

People with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have sticky clumps of beta-amyloid in their brains, although the part these plaques play in the condition is unclear. Until now, the only way to monitor plaque build-up in a person’s brain has been through expensive PET-scans, or by performing an invasive spinal tap procedure.

Now a team has developed a blood test that may make it possible for family doctors to screen for Alzheimer’s risk during health check-ups. “This kind of test could be used to screen many thousands of patients to identify those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and to start treatments before memory loss and brain damage,” says Randall Bateman, of Washington University in St Louis, who unveiled the test at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London, 19 July 2017._

The new blood test measures the amounts of three amyloid subtypes, the peptides amyloid beta 38, 40 and 42. It has been found that the levels of amyloid beta 42 are consistently 10 to 15 percent lower than amyloid beta 40 in people with amyloid plaques in the brain.

"Amyloid plaques are composed primarily of amyloid beta 42, so this probably means that it is being deposited in the brain before moving into the bloodstream," Randall J. Bateman, the study's senior author explained in a press release.

The blood test is said to have an accuracy of 89 percent over 20 blood samples.

► Learn more>>

► The study "Amyloid β concentrations and stable isotope labeling kinetics of human plasma specific to central nervous system amyloidosis" was published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia.>>

#Neuroscience, #Research, #BloodTest, #AmyloidPlaques, #AlzheimerDisease, #Dementia


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10 Important Google Keep Features Teachers Should Know About
July 24, 2017 Since its release a few years ago, Google Keep has gained so much popularity among teachers and educators, and within a very short period of time it established itself as one of the best note taking alternatives for Evernote users. Google Keep...

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June 20, 2017: Johns Hopkins University researchers identified a key mechanism behind one of cancer's deadliest traits. By understanding how metastasis works, their study presents new possibilities for preventing the spread of cancer in the body.


Treating cancer can be tricky: for one, cancer cells tend to spread quickly, known as metastasis — a behavior which sometimes goes undetected. As such, cancer remains a global problem, causing nearly 1 in every 6 deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. 90 percent of those deaths occur when the cancer has metastasized. But what if the spread of cancer cells could be prevented? That’s the idea behind a study a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University published in a recent issue of the journal Nature Communications.

The researchers realized the key is understanding what triggers metastatic behavior. “We found that it was not the overall size of a primary tumor that caused cancer cells to spread, but how tightly those cells are jammed together when they break away from the tumor,” lead author Hasini Jayatilaka said in a press release. The same kind of cellular behavior is also found in bacteria.

“At a fundamental level, we found that cell density is very important in triggering metastasis. It’s like waiting for a table in a severely overcrowded restaurant and then getting a message that says you need to take your appetite elsewhere.”


Prior to this study, the common notion about metastasis was that it occurred as a result of tumor growth. The team studied tumor cells in a three-dimensional environment mimicking human tissue and found that crowded conditions in cancer cells — not necessarily the tumor’s growth — is what triggers metastasis. They also identified the proteins — Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and Interleukin 8 (IL-8) — that cause cancer cells to spread.

“By doing this, we were able to develop a unique therapeutic that directly targets metastasis, not the growth of the primary tumor,” senior author Denis Wirtz explained in the press release. “This treatment has the potential to inhibit metastasis and thus improve cancer patient outcomes.”

Boston University professor Muhammad Zaman found this to be what’s so “exciting” about the findings of this study. “This paper gives you a very specific target to design drugs against,” he told the Baltimore Sun. “That’s really quite spectacular from the point of view of drug design and creating therapies.” The researchers note, however, that one drug or one therapy alone won’t do the trick. It’ll take drug cocktails, or a combination of various treatments that target metastatic behavior together with the body’s immune system, to win the battle against cancer once and for all.

References:, Nature
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