Generally, gene mutations physically alter the molecular interactions, which are required by the cells to communicate with each other and till now the scientists had no easy way to detect these subtle alterations in these interaction forces. But the research team with lead researcher J. Julius Zhu from University of Virginia School of Medicine found a novel technique to diagnose and offer superior predictions for disease outcomes with a genetic component such as Alzheimer’s, depression, schizophrenia, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, autism, cancer and much more.
The disease outcome is predicted by measuring extremely small changes in interactions amongst the molecules inside the body. This technique has an incredible precision which measures the molecular interactions caused by gene mutations on a scale of piconewtons (one trillionth of a newton). These tiny changes in the molecular interactions have a tremendous ripple effect which results in cognitive impairment and big changes in human behavior. Dr. Zhu’s approach uses a high-tech scientific instrument, optical tweezers that measure the force required to break the intermolecular bond between the signaling molecules which allow them to gauge the effects of gene mutations.
Dr.Zhu says “ the technique is simple to do and will dramatically improve our ability to diagnose mental illness and many other diseases”.