Microscopic gold ball could be Alzheimer’s long-sought remedy

American Scientists have created a nanoparticle containing a ball of gold in the middle, which could help target overactive brain receptors that cause Alzheimer’s.

The new method is expected to be especially useful in early stages of the condition and could also be used in the treatment of other chronic neurodegenerative diseases.

According to a study a study published this month in Nano Letters, researchers led by Alex Savchenko at Stanford University and Elena Molokanova at the start-up Nanotools Bioscience, the method may prove to be a more effective and safer than memantine. That druge is approved for moderate and severe cases of Alzheimer’s, but has never shown much evidence of efficacy for the mild version of the disease.

The team coupled multiple molecules of memantine to single minuscule balls of gold (at 13 nanometers in diameter, a bit thicker than the length an average scientist’s beard grows in one second, according to a statement), using tiny bridges made of a medically safe variant of polyethylene glycol (the main ingredient in antifreeze).

The resulting memantine-saturated nanoparticles were able to reach the extrasynaptic receptors that appear to be the key drivers of dementia and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

The new method is expected to be especially useful when used in early stages of the condition and could also be used in the treatment of other chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases as well as ischemic stroke and traumatic brain injury.