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Diagnosing Alzheimer’s more effectively, a “marine” polystyrene, and Andean glaciers losing mass at all latitudes

By 19th September 2019 February 10th, 2020 No Comments

Anatomical analysis of the cerebral cortex by MRI can be used to diagnose 80% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. But could analysis of another brain structure provide better results? Yes, say researchers from Inserm, the Université de Paris, and the CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), led by Maxime Bertoux, who is now an Inserm researcher at the Degenerative and Vascular Cognitive Disorders unit (Inserm / Université de Lille / Lille University Hospital). According to the new study, published in Neurobiology of Aging, morphological analysis of the cortical sulci could make it possible to identify Alzheimer’s disease in 91% of cases. The size of these sulci also appears to be associated with the stage of disease progression and cognitive decline. The research points to the potential value of this method in diagnosis and patient follow-up.

Tomorrow’s materials need not only be more efficient, they must also be environmentally-friendly. Researchers at the Matériaux biosourcés of IMT Mines Alès, led by Eric Guibal et Thierry Vincent, are developing ecological alternatives to the most polluting materials. One of their latest designs is a naturally occurring polymer foam, dubbed Algimel, that can replace various uses of polystyrene.

Finally, a team of glaciologists from the Laboratoire d’études en géophysique et océanographie spatiales (LEGOS/OMP, CNRS / CNES / IRD / UT3 Paul Sabatier),  the Institut des géosciences de l’environnement (IGE/OSUG, CNRS / UGA / IRD / Grenoble INP) and IANIGLA (Argentina) have mapped changes in the mass of Andean glaciers between 2000 and 2018 with hitherto unrivalled resolution. The satellite images they obtained show that glaciers are losing mass at all latitudes. Between 25° and 40°S, the driest part, the accelerated melting of glaciers since 2009 has helped to limit the harmful effects of an extremely intense drought. The work is published in Nature Geoscience.