Researchers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands have demonstrated the use of Raman optical technology to study brain tissue affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Raman microscopy uses a laser beam to identify chemical substances.

The technique has been used by the team to generate sharp images of the affected tissue and its surrounding areas, which showed the specific proteins involved, as well as the water and lipids influenced by their presence.

Involving four participants, of which three were suffering from the disease, the study indicated that image processing will identify the transition between healthy and affected tissue.

Apart from the progression, the transition is expected to enable detection of early signs of the disease.

“The study indicated that image processing will identify the transition between healthy and affected tissue.”

While the current study was conducted on brain tissue outside the body, the Raman technique is also expected to be useful in-vivo to accurately identify specific and small areas while performing surgery.

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The university has also announced a major funding for the development of wearable robotics, 3D printing of large metal objects, deep learning and extreme microscopy without lenses, which are part of the Perspectief programmes.

Intended to facilitate alliance between scientists, companies and other organisations, the programmes encourage multidisciplinary research.

University of Twente professor Herman van der Kooij is set to lead the wearable robotics programme that will work towards the development of Exo-Aids robot technology.

The soft, comfortable devices can be used for patients with damaged spinal cord, loss of muscle power or job-related injuries such as lower back pain.