When it comes to identifying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, every minute counts. Often it’s not even possible to determine whether a person is afflicted with it until it’s too late: that is, once symptoms start to show. A promising study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison suggests that there exists a way to diagnose Alzheimer’s before the onset of symptoms, not after.
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While today’s advancements in biotechnology suggest that there’s nothing we can’t artificially produce, sometimes there’s just no substitute for nature’s own recipes. At least, that’s the philosophy behind the University of Minnesota’s Schmidt-Dannert Lab, whose aim is to harness compounds created in natural organisms like plants and fungi that cannot be produced by chemical means. Many of these compounds have beneficial properties that can be used in further research and drug production.
For example, take chloroplasts, the organelles that perform photosynthesis inside plant cells. They provide energy to plant cells when exposed to light. Animal cells don’t have chloroplasts, which means they’re missing out on a valuable energy source. The Schmidt-Dannert Lab, led by University of Minnesota professor Claudia Schmidt-Dannert, is working toward is creating solar-powered animal cells that are more productive and produce different sorts of organic materials.
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