Navigation Links
Mass number-crunching may help crack Alzheimer's disease code
Date:5/9/2014

By lending a little computer power, people can join a new George Mason University project and help crack the Alzheimer's disease code.

George Mason is teaming with Reston-based Parabon Computation to ask volunteers to install software on their personal computers that will crunch numbers when the computer isn't in use. Notable projects from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, such as Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, have used similar approaches.

"It's a way to involve people in real research," says Dmitri Klimov, associate professor of bioinformatics and computational biology in the School of Systems Biology, who is leading Mason's efforts on the project.

Alzheimer's is a devastating disease for which there is no cure. Dementia its hallmark robs people of their memories and who they are. More than 5 million Americans have the disease; it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is expected to account for $214 billion in health care spending this year, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Researchers are working on finding elusive answers. "Despite all the efforts, we still don't know how the disease develops on a molecular level," Klimov says. "Exactly what causes Alzheimer's is not known."

Klimov has a $300,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work on the problem. Researchers have identified Ab protein, which appears to have a key role, but exactly how the protein plays out in the process is speculation at this point, he says.

This protein is just fine on its own and belongs in the brain, but trouble seems to occur when these protein molecules group together in a ball called an oligomer, Klimov explains, and it's this possibly destructive grouping that needs a closer look.

Citizen scientists can help researchers find the answer by joining the Compute Against Alzheimer's Disease (CAAD) project.

"Volunteers simply download the software at http://www.computeagainstalzheimers.org, which was developed for Parabon's Frontier Compute Platform," says Steven Armentrout, Parabon founder and chief executive. "The software is completely benign and does not interfere with ordinary computer use. The software unobtrusively harnesses idle computing capacity from computers when they are not otherwise being used. Like a screensaver, it works only when you are not."

Klimov, his graduate student Chris Lockhart, and Parabon software developers collaborated on the NIH grant to not only build computer models of molecules that could be responsible for Alzheimer's disease, but to make it possible for many computers to work together on a complex problem.

This distributed software approach "allows thousands of computers to cooperatively work on a single computational problem," Armentrout says. "Because the computer simulations involved take months or even years to complete using traditional computing methods, it is desirable to distribute the workload across many computers to accelerate the research, which is how Frontier adds value to the effort."

Computers are changing the classical laboratory and microscope approach. "That approach has limitations because it is difficult to study individual molecules," Klimov says. Computer software creates molecular models to re-create what is happening to the cell on a level of single molecules.

The end result will be a data boost "by orders of magnitude" to help researchers discover the clues that could lead to understanding of what causes Alzheimer's, he says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michele McDonald
mmcdon15@gmu.edu
703-993-8781
George Mason University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Dr. Todd McCracken Offers Dental Implants to Patients Resolving to Replace Missing Teeth This New Year in Denton, TX
2. Sculpt Studio Offers Pilates on Crack in Bethesda
3. How our vision dims: Chemists crack the code of cataract creation
4. Nutcracker Tickets: Ticket Down Announces Tickets for George Balanchine's The Nutcracker Starring The New York City Ballet at The David H. Koch Theatre Are in High Demand
5. Cracked Foundation Could Mean Mositure Control Problems
6. HIPAA Crackdown Results in Expansion of Secure Texting Solution for Physicians
7. New Drama Unveils the Cracked Chessboard of the NHS
8. California Society of Addiction Medicine Applauds Rehab Fraud Crackdown, Warns of Risks to Patients
9. New York State Cracks Down on Distracted Driving, Imposing Stiffer Penalties and Suspensions for New Drivers, Notes Parker Waichman LLP
10. Is there a "Code" To Crack For Permanent Weight Loss? Best-Selling Author Jennifer Nicole Lee Says Yes in Her Book "Crack The Code: Unlock Your Fat Burning & Weight Loss Potential"
11. Business Coach Casey Gollan Spills The Beans On Why Business Blogging Is All Its Cracked Up To Be
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... TherapySites, the ... affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship allows TherapySites to ... Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA is extremely excited ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and are derived from many ... the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary in the current issue ... the full issue, click here . , For the American Society of Clinical ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a weight loss fitness plan that ... the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, , All ... They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise program , ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible ... often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human ... but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. ... from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating ... one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" report to their ... contains up to date financial data derived from varied research ... trends with potential impact on the market during the next ... which comprises of sub markets, regional and country level analysis. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 , , , ... 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: , , , ... , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s ... Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program ... global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Guerbet announced today that ... Supplier Horizon Award . One of ... was recognized for its support of Premier members through ... clinical excellence, and commitment to lower costs. ... this recognition of our outstanding customer service from Premier," ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: