Unlocking the Mystery of
MANGANESE | When Yulia Pushkar, associate professor of physics,
learned that increased metal concentrations have been found in the brains of
people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, she saw an opportunity.
“The problem of neurodegenerative disease is not solved, and there are many
patients diagnosed,” Pushkar says. Using sophisticated x-ray imaging to detect
heavy metal, such as iron, copper, manganese and zinc, she got to work.
Her workspace includes a sample prep lab, laser lab and synchrotron facility,
needed because its bright, focused x-ray can detect low concentrations of metals.
“The x-ray fluorescence imaging we use is a high-resolution, quantitative
technique which can answer some important questions regarding roles of metal
ions in the brain,” Pushkar says.
In a recent article, she and co-authors discuss their imaging process and how
an overabundance of manganese in the brain, likely caused by occupational