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Research work at the UA makes advances in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's through biological markers


Alicante, 3rd June 2011


Oxidative stress levels are higher in people with Alzheimer's disease. This is one of the results obtained by the doctoral student Natividad López Riquelme, which she has defended in her doctoral thesis entitled “Implicación de los Metales y Elementos Traza en la Enfermedad de Alzheimer y su asociación con los agentes del Estrés Oxidativo sistémico”(Implications of Metals and Trace Elements in Alzheimer's disease and its association with systemic oxidative stress agents), joint research carried out by the University of Alicante's Department of Biotechnology and the University Hospital in Elche. Another conclusion from the study is the important role of some metals such as aluminium and copper in the process of oxidative stress. Thus, through this research, the role of some biochemical markers as new tools to help diagnose Alzheimer's disease has been assessed.

 The aim of this study is to find a biological marker to predict which patients will progress to Alzheimer's and can thus establish a diagnosis and early treatment. Preliminary results indicate that some markers such as MDA can assist in the early diagnosis.

 The research demonstrated the important role that oxidative stress plays in Alzheimer's disease. The study was conducted in neurological patients of the University Hospital of Elche, supervised by Dr. Jordi Alom, to whom determinations of molecules related to oxidative stress were made, such as antioxidant agents, trace elements and metals and products of lipid peroxidation. This line of research is also undergone in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition considered pre-dementia, where almost half of these patients progress to Alzheimer's disease over a period of 3 years.

 The doctoral thesis has been directed by Dr. Consuelo Tormo, specialist doctor at the University Hospital of Elche and supervised by Dr. Joaquín de Juan, head of the Department of Biotechnology, University of Alicante. Moreover, such work was made possible by the financial support from the Foundation for Biomedical Research of the University Hospital of Elche. The thesis was defended on Friday, 27th May 2011, obtaining a distinction "cum laude".




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