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15-Year-Old Student Develops Test for Dementia

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerAugust 31, 2015

A 15-year-old student is a finalist in the Google Science Fair due to his brilliant work fighting dementia. Krtin Nithiyanandam has developed an antibody that can cross the blood-brain barrier, attach to toxic proteins in the brain and even potentially stop them from further development.

Learn more about this inspiring teen and his groundbreaking study on dementia.

Inspiring Student Develops Test for Dementia

15-year-old Krtin Nithiyanandam of Epsom, Surrey, England has created a way to detect early signs of dementia at least 10 years before symptoms occur.

Krtin submitted his test to the Google Science Fair and is a finalist in the contest. He understands the impact that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia has had on the UK and around the world, saying:

“I chose Alzheimer’s disease because I am fascinated by neuroscience and the workings of the brain. Alzheimer’s kills more people each year than breast and prostate cancer combined and Alzheimer’s is also considered to be one of the greatest medical challenges of the 21st century.”

He continues:

“I learnt about its cruel and devastating effects and how it interferes with everyday life, and nobody should have to live with this debilitating disease.”

Krtin hopes to win the Google Science Fair which would earn him a scholarship and mentoring to help advance his ideas to fight Alzheimer’s. He says that “Winning the Google Science Fair would be truly life changing, I can’t even begin to put into words what that would be like. 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.”

Test Detects the Early Stages of Dementia

Krtin’s test uses a “trojan horse” antibody attached to fluorescent particles that can enter the brain and attach itself to toxic proteins that are hallmark characteristics of dementia and early Alzheimer’s. Those fluorescent particles can then show up on a simple brain scan. As of now, the disease is only detected through cognitive tests or post-mortem.

Krtin said, “The main benefits of my test are that it could be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms start to show by focusing on pathophysiological changes, some of which can occur a decade before symptoms are prevalent.”

“This early diagnosis could help families prepare for the future and ensure that existing drugs are used to better effect. Another benefit is that due to the conjugated fluorescent nanoparticles, my diagnostic-probe can be used to image Alzheimer’s disease non-invasively.”

One reason that conditions like Alzheimer’s are so hard to diagnose and treat is that there is a barrier between blood and the brain that protects the brain. Krtin’s antibodies are able to pass through that barrier.

In addition to identifying early signs of Alzheimer’s, the latest test results show that the antibodies actually arrest the proteins and stop them from progressing, which could stop the progression of Alzheimer’s altogether.

Krtin went on to say: “Some of my new preliminary research has suggested that my diagnostic probe could simultaneously have therapeutic potential as well as diagnostic.”

We wish Krtin the best of luck in the Google Science Fair and thank him for his contribution to Alzheimer’s research. What do you think about his development of using antibodies to identify and fight Alzheimer’s? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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