Mental confusion, memory loss, aggression and depression. These are not symptoms of age, but of Alzheimer’s disease, which affects about 1% of the world population between the ages of 65 and 70 years old. Currently, the disease can only be diagnosed after a series of cognitive tests which are usually only done after several symptoms have already started showing. But that is about to change. A British 15-year-old schoolboy has managed to develop a test that can detect Alzheimer’s up to 10 years before the first symptoms appear.
Krtin Nithiyanandam of Epsom, Surrey, created an antibody that, when injected into the blood, acts as a Trojan horse, penetrating into the brain and connecting to the neurotoxic proteins that are present in the first stage of the disease. The great thing is that these antibodies can also be attached to fluorescent particles, and can therefore allow the detection of these proteins linked to Alzheimer’s during an MRI. The study also shows these antibodies have the ability to combat the disease themselves.
“Some of my new preliminary research has suggested that my diagnostic probe could simultaneously have therapeutic potential as well as diagnostic,” Nithiyanandam told Telegraph.
The test is competing for the Google Science Fair Prize, a global competition for teenagers up to 18 years old developing innovative scientific projects. The student is a finalist and if he wins, he will receive a scholarship and mentoring to continue the study.
“Winning the Google Science Fair would be truly life changing, I can’t even begin to put into words what that would be like,” Nithiyanandam added. “It would be more than a dream come true, and it would also encourage me to pursue my interests in science, and hopefully one day, to change the world.”