Google / UK school boy develops new test for Alzheimer's for Google Science Fair

15 July 2015

A UK school boy who is only 15 years old - has developed a new test which could potentially diagnose Alzheimer's disease 10 years before the appearance of the first symptoms.

The test might be able to halt the disease altogether.

Krtin Nithiyanandam, who is from Epsom, Surrey, created the test for the Google Science Fair, and had made it through to the final week. He would find next month, whether he had won the grand prize, a prestigious scholarship and the opportunity to take his idea further.

The test consists of an antibody capable of penetrating the brain and attaching to neurotoxic proteins that appeared during the first stages of the disease.

The ''Trojan horse'' antibodies could also attach to fluorescent particles that could be observed through a brain scan.

''The main benefits of my test are that it could be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease before symptoms start to show by focusing on pathophysiological changes, some of which can occur a decade before symptoms are prevalent,'' Krtin told The Daily Telegraph. "This early diagnosis could help families prepare for the future and ensure that existing drugs are used to better effect."

Determining if a person had Alzheimer's was currently difficult and there were only two ways to find out - detection through cognitive tests or by dissecting the brain but after the person was dead.

Treatment of neruodegenerative diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease was also impossible due to the blood-brain barrier, the cell layer that wrapped around the brain that allowed only water, some gases, and the specific molecules crucial to neural function pass through it.

Krtin's antibodies, however, could however, enter the thick layer, as proven by the lab tests which showed that his antibodies prevented the toxic proteins from developing, thus, arresting any Alzhiemer's development.

Around 5.3 million Americans and another 850,000 Britons are diagnosed with dementia, of which Alzheimer's was the most common type.

"Some of my new preliminary research has suggested that my diagnostic probe could simultaneously have therapeutic potential as well as diagnostic," reported Krtin.

"I chose Alzheimer's disease because I am fascinated by neuroscience and the workings of the brain,'' Krtin said. ''I learned about its cruel and devastating effects and how it interferes with everyday life, and nobody should have to live with this debilitating disease."

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