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Fields & Applications Mass Spectrometry, Clinical, Metabolomics & Lipidomics, Chemical

Spinal Tap

Debilitating and often incurable, neurodegenerative diseases could affect over 12 million Americans by 2030 (1). Finding treatments – or, even better, cures – for these conditions is a high priority. But first, we need to understand them.

High levels of metal ions in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are currently thought to play a key role in protein misfolding – a hallmark of neurogenerative disorders – so a multinational team of researchers developed a method for simultaneous redox speciation of iron (II/III), manganese (II/III), and copper (I/II). Based on strong cation exchange chromatography and inductively coupled plasma sector field mass spectrometry (ICP-sf-MS), the new method was optimized and tested using real CSF samples taken from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients and neurologically healthy controls (2).

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About the Author

Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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