-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Newly developed
fluorescent compounds may help doctors track Alzheimer's disease as
it advances in living patients, a new study reveals.
Tests showed that these compounds highlighted so-called tau
protein clusters on PET scans of the brains of people with
The study was published in the Sept. 18 issue of the journal
In the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, tau proteins
clump together and become tangled. These tau tangles are an
important marker of brain deterioration in people with the disease.
Until now, it was difficult to monitor tau tangles while patients
are still alive.
These new fluorescent compounds may help doctors track the
processes that occur in the brain during the development and
progression of Alzheimer's disease, according to a journal news
This ability could prove helpful in diagnosing the disease,
monitoring the effectiveness of treatments, and testing new drugs
to prevent and treat the disease, according to study senior author
Dr. Makoto Higuchi, of the National Institute of Radiological
Sciences in Japan, and colleagues.
Tau tangles also play a role in other types of dementias and
movement disorders. These new fluorescent compounds could also help
doctors diagnose, monitor and treat these diseases, the researchers
Another protein called amyloid beta accumulates into plaques in
the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. Imaging technologies
have been developed to observe the spread of amyloid beta plaques
in patients' brains.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about
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