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Patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntinton’s diseases have been found to have deposits of iron in their brain. It is thought that these ‘iron’ deposits are caused by the collapse of the transport system that safely moves iron through our blood stream.

Peter Sadler, Professor, University of Warwick, and Sandeep Verma, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, found that that by taking the protein that is responsible for transporting iron in the bloodstream and letting it dry out will form tendrils, or worm like fibrils. Even more interesting was that the iron that had been wrapped inside the transporting protein now formed bands that plated the fibrils. This process could leave iron dangerously exposed and available to interact in ways that could cause cell damage.

Deposits of iron exposed in this way could be responsible for some forms of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s diseases. Until now there had been no real idea as to how iron becomes deposited in brain in such a dangerous way. It is essential for the brain to have iron safely delivered to it; this observation could provide the first real clue as to how that iron comes to be deposited in such a dangerous way.