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Fighting the plague of the 21st century together

Brain diseases, especially neurodegenerative ones, are gradually becoming some of the most widely spread around the world. Over 50 million people are suffering from them at the moment. And the tendency is really alarming. More and more people fall ill every year with Parkinson disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis. According to some forecasts the number of patients with these diseases may double by 2050.

What makes the situation worse is the fact that brain starts degenerating without symptoms, so by the time these diseases are diagnosed considerable and irreparable damage is usually done to the brain.

In 2020 COVID-19 outbreak has also contributed to the spread of neurodegenerative diseases as the so-called “post-COVID syndrome” is believed to manifest itself as decline in cognitive abilities, psychological distress, and nervous tissue damage.

It is obvious that for improvement of the modern state of affairs both fundamental and clinical research is critically important. A team of enthusiastic researchers from the Udmurt State University and Izhevsk Medical Academy have joined their efforts in an attempt to develop new approaches to early diagnostics of neurodegenerative diseases and implement new neuroprotective technologies into clinical practice.

The research findings are quite promising so far. Thus, S. Kozhevnokov, the Associate Professor at the Department of Physiology, Cell Biology and Biotechnology, A. Poyarkov, the Associate Professor at the Department of Information Systems and Networks, and A. Lashkarev, the Director of the Big Data Analysis and Digital Modeling Center, have proposed a new diagnostic method based on the mathematical analysis of data obtained from encephalographic tests using AI and machine-learning technologies. Besides, UdSU mathematicians have developed new algorithms for processing biometric data received from a tremograph designed by A. Alalykin, the leading engineer at the Laboratory of Structural Methods of Analysis. Clinical research conducted by N. Komissarova, the Chair of the Neurology, Neurosurgery and Medical Genetics Department (Izhevsk Medical Academy), allowed to detect tremor frequency patterns specific for early stages of Parkinson disease.

V. Sergeev, the Chair the Department of Physiology, Cell Biology and Biotechnology, and his colleagues have long been researching pathological processes in brain. As a result, they could confirm that the main reason for neuronal degeneration is neuro inflammation. The inflammation is hard to treat as drugs cannot be delivered to brain directly, and cannot penetrate through blood either because of so-called hematoencephalic barrier. One of the solutions of this problem is to use flavonoids – plant antioxidants capable of breaking the blood-brain barrier and having strong anti-inflammatory effect. Extraction of flavonoids and production of drugs in the required quantitates is a challenging project involving many UdSU researchers and divisions. Our botanists will first be looking for the proper plant species; field surveys will have to be conducted; next, plants will have to be cultivated on the premises of UdSU botanical garden. Finally, our biotechnologists will have to test and commission special equipment for fluid extraction of flavonoids from plants.

Gerontology or geriatrics (science studying peculiarities of diseases in old age) is a discipline bearing big importance both for medical and social institutions. Only combined efforts of researchers, doctors and regional government are capable of fighting the “plague” of the 21st century.

Watch video report about the Round table “Neuroprotective technologies: UdSU/IMA interdisciplinary project” on April 22:

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