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Measurement and modelling of metals in the brain

Metal elements, including iron, aluminium, manganese and others, are linked with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and related forms of neurodegeneration. Fundamental changes in the trafficking and utilization of these metals are thought to be a contributing factor to brain cell damage. Better spatial and temporal description of these metal distributions is needed to design appropriate treatments, but measuring these elements with sufficient sensitivity and specificity in the compartments of the human brain is a significant technical challenge. In this talk, we’ll consider the need for these measurements, the advances we’re making in the Trace Metals in Medicine group developing and testing post-mortem and clinical measurements, and how we’re using a systems approach to begin examining ‘supply and demand’ problems in metal ion metabolism in the human brain.