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New discovery about Alzheimer's may help target drugs 新发现可帮助研发对抗阿兹海默症的新药

Episode 170707 / 07 Jul 2017

文字稿

英国的科学家们以空前的精度生成了阿兹海默症患者大脑中聚积的异常沉积物的图像。这支团队来自英国医学研究理事会下属的分子生物学实验室(MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology),他们认为这一发现为研究神经退化性疾病“开辟了崭新的时代”。这些科学家的研究成果将有助于研发阻止脑细胞死亡的药物。请听报道。

Alzheimer's is the slow death of the brain. One of the main suspects in causing the disease is a protein called tau. It forms messy tangles inside brain cells leading to disruption and, eventually, death.

But while scientists have known about tau for decades, what's been missing is a detailed understanding of its chemical structure. A study published in the journal Nature has finally cracked it using an advanced form of electron microscopy. The findings could lead to a new way of designing medicines to attack tau.

The team at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology said current drug research was like shooting in the dark. It's still possible to score a hit but it becomes much more likely if you know the structure.

Experts in dementia charities said the results were a substantial advance that could lead to a new era of drug development.

词汇表

tau Tau 蛋白,科学家们认为大脑中 tau 蛋白的异常磷酸化与阿兹海默症有紧密的联系
main suspects 可能造成…的主要原因
tangles 乱糟糟的团状物,缠结
disruption (大脑活动)中断
chemical structure 化学结构
cracked 破解了,解决了
electron microscopy 电子显微镜技术
designing 开发、研发
shooting in the dark 毫无根据地猜想
score a hit “命中目标”,取得发现

测验

请听报道并回答下列问题。

1. According to the article, what is one of the main suspects in causing Alzheimer’s?

2. What has been missing from the scientists’ knowledge about tau for decades?

3. True or false? The team said current drug research was like a wild guess.

4. Which word in the text means ‘a period of time with a particular feature’?

答案

1. According to the article, what is one of the main suspects in causing Alzheimer’s?
One of the main suspects in causing the disease is a protein called tau.

2. What has been missing from the scientists’ knowledge about tau for decades?
For decades, what has been missing about tau is a detailed understanding of its chemical structure.

3. True or false? The team said current drug research was like a wild guess.
True. The team at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology said current drug research was like shooting in the dark, which means it was like an uninformed guess.

4. Which word in the text means ‘a period of time with a particular feature’?
Era.

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