Journal of Undergraduate Research


spatial relationship, iron, tau protein, amyloid beta, Alzheimer's disease, magnetic resonance imaging


Life Sciences


Physiology and Developmental Biology


As the 6th leading cause of death in the United States1, and because of the significant deterioration it causes in the quality of life of its victims, Alzheimer’s disease is an area where research to improve its early diagnosis is paramount to establishing new treatments. Alzheimer’s disease appears to show its effects at a particularly early stage within the hippocampus2. More specifically, the subicular area of the hippocampus is noted as a region that is subjected to more severe pathological changes due to the disease3. Braak staging is a method used to classify, into six stages, the degree of pathology in Alzheimer’s disease. By establishing a co-localization of iron to either tau or amyloid beta in the subiculum, iron could then be used as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease. This means that Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) could potentially be used to detect tau and amyloid beta because of the signal dropout that iron induces in MRI. As a result, health professionals would then be able to use MRI to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease more effectively, and at an earlier stage—providing them the ability to establish a more effective treatment.

Included in

Physiology Commons