Modeling Light Scattering Profiles As They Relate To Mitochondrial Morphological Changes Duringalzheimer’S Disease
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Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’sdisease. Today, 24 million people are living with the disease. Alzheimer’s is a terminal illness without a cure. Unfortunately, no non-invasive diagnostic technique exists that can definitively diagnosis an individual with early-stageAlzheimer’s. Most often, those that are given “probable” diagnoses are properly diagnosed only after irreversible damage has occurred in the brain.An earlier diagnosis would have brought these patients a variety of benefits. An early diagnosis means that a patient is affordedearlier access to available treatments, is able to build a care team, can investigate support services and can enroll in potentially effective clinical trials. Aside from physical benefits, early-diagnosed patients can better prepare emotionally, socially, financially and legallyfor the toll the disease takes on the body and mind. Thus, an unmet need exists to develop a diagnostic technique that can definitively diagnose Alzheimer’sas early as possible.Altered brain energetics and metabolism have been shown to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These changes occur alongside alterations of the normal cycles of fission and fusion of mitochondria in neurons, which together are referred to asmitochondrial dynamics. Changes in mitochondrial dynamics lead toinadequate cellular energy production, ultimately inducingthe loss in synaptic activity and neuronal death associated with Alzheimer’s.This research involved creating a Monte Carlo model that simulatesthe mitochondrial morphological changes that occur in response to the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Simultaneously, the model predicts light scattering profiles for a specific mitochondrion as it undergoesthestructural changes associated with altered mitochondrial dynamics. This model serves to provide useful insight into optical imaging of mitochondrial dynamics andhow optical imaging technology/processing might be optimized to provide useful diagnostic information for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.