New Carbon Nanotube Sensor Ably Spots Alzheimer’s via Proteins in Blood, Study Reports

New Carbon Nanotube Sensor Ably Spots Alzheimer’s via Proteins in Blood, Study Reports
A new biosensor using neatly aligned carbon nanotubes may bring scientists one step closer to a blood test for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

The nanotubes were able to measure microscopic concentrations of Alzheimer's main protein biomarkers in blood plasma, and reportedly distinguished Alzheimer’s patients from healthy people with an average accuracy of 88.6%.

These results were detailed in the study, "Blood-based multiplexed diagnostic sensor helps to accurately detect Alzheimer's disease," published in Nature Communications. Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease marked by the death of nerve cells, or neurons. Two of the main clinical findings associated with this neuronal death are the formation of amyloid plaques — aggregation of amyloid-beta into clumps— and tau tangles — abnormal aggregates of tau protein — inside the brain.

Four molecules serve as the main biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease: amyloid-beta 42, amyloid-beta 40, total tau protein (t-tau) and phosphorylated tau protein (p-tau).

Amyloid-beta 42 and 40 are two isoforms (protein variants) of the amyloid-beta protein that have different lengths and whose levels are higher-than-usual in the context of Alzheimer's disease. Phosphorylated tau protein is a toxic version of the tau protein that clumps together to form the tangles that eventually result in the death of nerve cells. Because both Alzheimer
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