PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Using ion beams to improve brain microscopy

New research shows a technique using ion beams to better see the structures inside human brain cells, which could help our understanding of brain diseases

Using ion beams to improve brain microscopy
2024-02-10
(Press-News.org) ROCKVILLE, MD – Improving the way scientists can see the microscopic structures of the brain can improve our understanding of a host of brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis. Studying these diseases is challenging and has been limited by accuracy of available models.

To see the smallest parts of cells, scientists often use a technique called electron microscopy.  Electron microscopy historically involves adding chemicals and physically cutting the tissue. However, this approach can change the way the cells and structures look, perturbing their natural state, and can limit resolution. An alternative method, called cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET), provides clearer images of the brain's smallest parts in a more native state, however, it requires freezing. Freezing samples to cryogenic temperatures must be done carefully or ice crystals can form, disrupting the native anatomy.

But new research by Benjamin Creekmore in Yi-Wei Chang and Edward Lee’s labs at the University of Pennsylvania shows a new technique to study the human brain's ultrastructure. They will present their research at the 68th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, to be held February 10 - 14, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Creekmore and colleagues obtained brain tissue from autopsies, flash froze it directly on special grids with liquid ethane, and used a powerful tool called a xenon plasma focused ion beam (FIB) to cut thin slices for imaging. This method allowed them to look at the brain tissue in its near-natural state without cutting with a knife blade, adding chemicals, or slower freezing, all of which can lead to changes in the structures.

“The most common way to preserve tissue at a time of autopsy is to put it in a freezer and then use it later. But letting it freeze slowly and then warming it up and then refreezing it also disturbs the tissue. Membranes break and you can lose the normal architecture,” Creekmore explained.

One surprising part of the new method is that it lets them more easily and rapidly freeze much thicker samples—in the past samples were limited to 10 microns using similar approaches. “We were able to freeze samples up to 250 microns thick without ice crystals,” Creekmore said. The process of getting thick samples ready for high-resolution imaging is much faster than with other techniques. This speed-up can allow analysis of a wider array of samples.

By applying this approach to brain tissue from individuals with Alzheimer's disease, they were able to observe intact structures within cells, such as tau fibrils, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, and cellular components that try to break down these fibrils. The team also visualized and measured myelin, a sheath that’s critical for nerve function but that breaks down in certain diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

“Techniques for imaging human tissue historically have been relatively low resolution and they disturb the native architecture. We wanted to try to come up with a way that we could model and study brain diseases in their natural context,” Creekmore said. Their innovative method provides a first glimpse into the natural state of human brain tissue, offering valuable insights into its anatomy at a high level of detail. This new method can start to provide unique information to determine disease-causing mechanisms of a broad array of brain-related diseases.

END

[Attachments] See images for this press release:
Using ion beams to improve brain microscopy

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Faster monkeypox (mpox) testing through CRISPR

Faster monkeypox (mpox) testing through CRISPR
2024-02-10
ROCKVILLE, MD – Mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, is a rare viral disease that is spread through physical contact between people. Currently, testing for mpox requires lab equipment and can take a few hours to get test results. But new research suggests a way for faster testing that could be done in any clinic soon. Md. Ahasan Ahamed, a graduate student mentored by Weihua Guan at Pennsylvania State University will present this research at the 68th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, to be held February 10 - 14, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though mpox symptoms are generally mild with fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, severe cases can occur and require medical attention. ...

New method could detect early ovarian cancer from urine samples

New method could detect early ovarian cancer from urine samples
2024-02-10
New research by Joseph Reiner and colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University shows promise for a urine-based test for ovarian cancer. Reiner will present their research at the 68th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, to be held February 10 - 14, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Previous research showed that there are thousands of small molecules, called peptides, in the urine of people with ovarian cancer. While it is possible to detect those molecules using certain well-established techniques, ...

Scientists find new way to roll atomically thin nanosheets into scrolls

Scientists find new way to roll atomically thin nanosheets into scrolls
2024-02-10
Tokyo, Japan – Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have come up with a new way of rolling atomically thin sheets of atoms into “nanoscrolls.” Their unique approach uses transition metal dichalcogenide sheets with a different composition on either side, realizing a tight roll that gives scrolls down to five nanometers in diameter at the center and micrometers in length. Control over nanostructure in these scrolls promises new developments in catalysis and photovoltaic devices.   Nanotechnology is giving us new tools to control the structure of materials at ...

New test for improving population-based colorectal cancer screening

New test for improving population-based colorectal cancer screening
2024-02-10
New test for improving population-based colorectal cancer screening A new stool test appears to detect colorectal cancer precursors better than the current test. This could further reduce the number of new colorectal cancer cases as well as the number of people dying from the disease. A study led by the Netherlands Cancer Institute compared both tests. The results are published today in The Lancet Oncology.   Each year worldwide, approximately 1.9 million people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 935,000 people ...

Quitting smoking at any age brings big health benefits, fast: study

Quitting smoking at any age brings big health benefits, fast: study
2024-02-09
People who quit smoking see major gains in life expectancy after just a few years, according to a new study by University of Toronto researchers at Unity Health Toronto. The study, published in NEJM Evidence, shows that smokers who quit smoking before age 40 can expect to live almost as long as those who never smoked. Those who quit at any age return close to never-smoker survival 10 years after quitting, and about half that benefit occurs within just three years. “Quitting smoking is ridiculously effective in reducing ...

Discoveries can be used to optimize production of annatto powder

Discoveries can be used to optimize production of annatto powder
2024-02-09
Researchers at the University of São Paulo’s Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP) and the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV) in Brazil have shown for the first time that bixin or annatto powder, a carotenoid pigment extracted from the seeds of the achiote or annatto tree (Bixa orellana), is not produced only in the seeds but also in other organs, and that the process intensifies in the plant’s adult phase. An article on the study published in the Journal of Experimental Botany, also describes genetic modifications in the species that can optimize production of the pigment, which is widely used in the food ...

Harnessing human evolution to advance precision medicine

Harnessing human evolution to advance precision medicine
2024-02-09
Humans are still evolving, and Tatum Simonson, PhD, founder and co-director of the Center for Physiological Genomics of Low Oxygen at University of California School of Medicine, plans to use evolution to improve healthcare for all. Her latest research, which was published February 9, 2024 in Science Advances, reveals that a gene variant in some Andean people is associated with reduced red blood cell count at high altitude, enabling them to safely live high in the mountains in low-oxygen conditions. Simonson’s UC San Diego lab is applying those findings toward understanding whether there may be a genetic component ...

For Black patients, 'representation matters' in evaluating prostate cancer websites

2024-02-09
Waltham — February 9, 2024 — For Black men with prostate cancer, racial representation is a key factor affecting trust in websites offering information on prostate cancer, reports a study in the March issue of The Journal of Urology®, an Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA). The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.  "Our study shows that representation matters to Black patients seeking prostate cancer information online," comments lead author Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc, PhD (Hon), of New York University Langone Health. "Not only does it impact trust in the information, but a lack ...

Having COVID-19 and Long COVID can impact women’s sex lives

2024-02-09
From work to school to socializing, COVID-19 has impacted just about every part of our lives—and now Boston University research has shown that also includes what happens in the bedroom. A study of more than 2,000 cisgender women found the coronavirus disease can impair sexual function, with long COVID having an especially detrimental effect. “If you’re sick with COVID, you’re probably less interested in sex and maybe your body is less prepared to have sex,” says Amelia M. Stanton, a BU College of Arts & Sciences assistant ...

Mechanistically based blood proteomic markers in the TGF-β pathway stratify risk of HCC in patients with cirrhosis

Mechanistically based blood proteomic markers in the TGF-β pathway stratify risk of HCC in patients with cirrhosis
2024-02-09
“A fundamental hypothesis we sought to test was whether biomarkers from the TGF-β signaling pathway might be of novel value in risk stratification of HCC in the clinical cirrhotic setting.” BUFFALO, NY- February 9, 2024 – A new research paper was published in Genes & Cancer on February 5, 2023, entitled, “Mechanistically based blood proteomic markers in the TGF-β pathway stratify risk of hepatocellular cancer in patients with cirrhosis.” Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of death from cancer worldwide but is often diagnosed at an advanced incurable stage. Yet, despite the urgent need for ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

12.5, the 1st Impact Factor of COMMTR released!

Circadian clock impact on cluster headaches funded by $2.4M NIH grant for UTHealth Houston research

Study identifies first drug therapy for sleep apnea

How old is your bone marrow?

Boosting biodiversity without hurting local economies

ChatGPT is biased against resumes with credentials that imply a disability — but it can improve

Simple test for flu could improve diagnosis and surveillance

UT Health San Antonio researcher awarded five-year, $2.53 million NIH grant to study alcohol-assisted liver disease

Giving pre-med students hands-on clinical training

CAMH research suggests potential targets for prevention and early identification of psychotic disorders

Mapping the heart to prevent damage caused by a heart attack

Study challenges popular idea that Easter islanders committed ‘ecocide’

Chilling discovery: Study reveals evolution of human cold and menthol sensing protein, offering hope for future non-addictive pain therapies.

Elena Beccalli, new rector of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, takes office on 1st July

Pacific Northwest Research Institute uncovers hidden DNA mechanisms of rare genetic diseases

Empowering older adults: Wearable tech made easier with personalized support

Pennington Biomedical researchers partner on award-winning Long Covid study

Cooling ‘blood oranges’ could make them even healthier – a bonus for consumers

Body image and overall health found important to the sexual health of older gay men, according to new studies

Lab-grown muscles reveal mysteries of rare muscle diseases

Primary hepatic angiosarcoma: Treatment options for a rare tumor

Research finds causal evidence tying cerebral small-vessel disease to Alzheimer’s, dementia

Navigating the Pyrocene: Recent Cell Press papers on managing fire risk

Restoring the Great Salt Lake would have environmental justice as well as ecological benefits

Cannabis, tobacco use, and COVID-19 outcomes

A 5:2 intermittent fasting meal replacement diet and glycemic control for adults with diabetes

Scientists document self-propelling oxygen decline in the oceans

Activating molecular target reverses multiple hallmarks of aging

Cannabis use tied to increased risk of severe COVID-19

How to make ageing a ‘fairer game’ for all wormkind

[Press-News.org] Using ion beams to improve brain microscopy
New research shows a technique using ion beams to better see the structures inside human brain cells, which could help our understanding of brain diseases