Early detection of Alzheimer's

he most common cause of dementia is the neurodegenerative disease Alzheimer’s (AD). It is characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem solving and other cognitive skills that affect the ability of the patient to perform everyday activities. Early diagnosis of the disease can help to minimize its adverse effects.

Current emphasis in Alzheimer's research advocates diagnosing the condition before the beginning of its symptoms. Numerous biochemical tests have been proposed to aid in earlier detection of the disease. The analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for concentrations of beta-amyloid peptides or tau proteins (both total tau protein and phosphorylated tau181P protein) is one such promising test. But, it requires expensive chemicals, trained experts, does not provide results in real-time and is still in development phase.

Photonic techniques have the unique ability of investigating bioanalytes in real-time without destroying the sample. Vibrational spectroscopy techniques, such as Raman and FTIR absorption spectroscopy, have the advantage of high chemical specificity and belong to the most promising tools for the detection of proteins as reliable biomarkers for AD diagnosis.

The main objective of the project is the development of a new combined Raman and FTIR spectroscopy platform that integrates the spectral information from both techniques and helps in building multivariate analyses based robust prediction algorithms for the early diagnosis of AD. This project is carried out by a 3-member consortium, consisting of CIC nanoGUNE as organizer, CITA Alzheimer, and the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU.