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More research on metals and neurological diseases

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Well-known member
Feb 11, 2005
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Home on the Range, Alberta
University of Saskatchewan, Canadian Light Synchrotron, team lead by Helen Nichol, with Gabrielle Boulianne from Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, Ian Meinertzhagen from Dalhousie University in Halifax, and U of S Canada Research Chairs Ingrid Pickering and Graham George.

Quotes taken from various news releases:

$91,619 (U of S) for equipment to research specific human pathologies and environmental hazards from metals and metalloids (Helen Nichol). Iron deposits are associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, but it is not known how these deposits form, or if they contribute to the disease process. Using a beamline at the CLS this research will bring cell biology and synchrotron expertise together. Medical applications of biological X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and XAS imaging will be used to study the role of iron in cognition and major neurological diseases.

Helen Nichol, medical professor at the University of Saskatchewan, uses the equipment to study flies genetically modified to carry Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Huntington's disease.

Nichol wants to understand how the insects accumulate and metabolize metals such as nickel and selenium.

"[It] doesn't matter whether it's Alzheimer's or Parkinson's," said Nichol.
"Most people who have these diseases get accumulations of metals in the brain, and we're using fruit flies because ? believe it or not ? fruit flies can also accumulate metals, and we believe there are a lot of similarities."

Her team is trying to determine which metals are the most important to the disease, and whether levels can be easily reduced or better regulated through diet.

Not to be left out of the Univ. of Saskatchewan announcements:
(toxicology and the environment)

Released June 27, 2005

John Giesy, a world-renowned expert in industrial pollutants and their effect on people and the environment, has been appointed Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Saskatchewan, the federal government announced today. ......

Giesy was the first to identify the presence in the environment of perfluorinated compounds, a class of POPs used in common products such as paints, cosmetics, and electronics. Though it had been thought that these chemicals didn't migrate through the environment, Giesy and his colleagues detected the compounds in animal tissues from all over the world -- from Ganges River dolphins to North American bald eagles. It is still unclear what effect these chemicals may have on wildlife and people.

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