Researchers at the University of Michigan have published the findings of their work on Alzheimer's care in a recent edition of Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by memory loss and other cognitive difficulties associated with clumps of peptides called amyloid betas that form the plaque that kills braincells.
In order to learn how to prevent brain damage, scientists must learn how these clumps form, and the researchers at U of M have developed new molecular tools that could help make the discovery.
Though the origins of the clumps are still unknown, scientists think copper ions are involved in their formation, as this metal is believed to cause cell damage in certain contexts.
Researchers sometimes study the role of copper in the clumping process by combining metal ions with a certain kind of molecule called a chelator. In the past, scientists have found that by then removing the metals from the molecule, they can make the chelator hamper the clumping.
Though scientists frequently conduct research on AD, the Mayo Clinic says the disease has no cure. Nearly 50 percent of Americans over the age of 85 have AD.