Graphene Can Detect Brain Disorders Such As Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

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Graphene is a form of carbon and an ultra-light yet strong material that has been discovered back in 2004.  The latest reports claim that it enables flexible electronic components, increases solar cell capacity and also promises to revolutionize batteries. It seems that now scientists have added another use to the list.

Experts found a potential new application for the material – detecting Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) which is a progressive brain disorder for which there is currently “no objective diagnostic test.”

All this is described in the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces of the American Chemical Society.

ALS’ symptoms include rapid loss of motor neurons controlling skeletal muscles, leading to paralysis.

“We have a new exciting work on the application of graphene that may one day be used to test for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases,” co-first author Bijentimala Keisham, said.

Graphene includes a single layer of carbon atoms which are arranged in a hexagonal lattice, and each atom is bound to its neighbors by chemical bonds. The elasticity of these bonds can produce resonant vibrations known as phonons.

Diagnosing and monitoring ALS

The study talks about a distinct change in the vibrational features of graphene when the Cerebro-Spinal Fluid (CSF) which is found in the brain and spinal cord from patients who were suffering from ALS was added to it.

To carry on the test, experts used the CSF from 13 people with ALS; three people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and three people with an unknown neurodegenerative disease.

“The changes in graphene’s phonon vibration–energies, as measured by Raman spectroscopy, were unique and distinct,” Keisham said.

“These distinct changes accurately predicted what kind of patient the CSF came from — one with ALS, MS or no neurodegenerative disease.”

The report concludes by saying that experts demonstrate a robust system to investigate ALS by using graphene.

The results suggested that the graphene platform can be used for both diagnosing ALS and monitoring its progression.

Rada Mateescu

I have been blogging and posting articles for over eight years, but my passion for writing dates back in 2000. I am especially enthusiastic about technology, science, and health-related issues. When I’m not researching and writing the latest news, I’m either watching sci-fi and horror movies or checking out places worth visiting and building deep memories for later in life. I believe in empathy and continually improving myself.