Detecting brain disorders

Life & Health

Researchers have developed new technology to diagnose brain disorders with a simple and fast blood test.

Statistics show that by the year 2020, nearly one million people in the U.S. will have Parkinson’s disease. It is a difficult disease to diagnose and monitor.

Debashis Chanda, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Central Florida said, “Dopamine measurement plays an important role for people suffering from Parkinson’s.”

Too little dopamine has been associated with Parkinson’s and depression. But when it comes to detecting dopamine.

Freya Mehta, Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate Student, University of Central Florida said, “The traditional methods are very hard for people because we have to send it to laboratories and they have to look at cultures and stuff like that and that takes a lot of time.”

Usually hours or even days. So professor Chanda and his team developed the first-ever rapid detector for dopamine. It only requires a few drops of blood and it gives results in seconds. Using this chip, plasma is separated from the blood.

Doctor Chanda said, “And then when the plasma flows through that sodium oxide coated nanostructure surface that dopamine selectively binds or get captured by the surface.”

Using an infrared light, researchers can measure how much dopamine is concentrated in the blood. This method can be very useful in determining whether a medication is effective.

“How do you adjust that person’s medication, depends on the dopamine level in the brain,” said Doctor Chanda.

Chanda says this is just the first step in giving people the ability to monitor their own brain activity.

Doctor Chanda said, “Like the way you detect or monitor your blood sugar or blood glucose level.”

Professor Chandra’s research team is also using the same technology to perform experiment to detect for viruses, like the dengue virus.

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