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December 9th, 2003
Tiny particles just might save your life
Six squares, each showing a line of six gray dots across the center, fill the flat-panel computer screen. It looks like a simple pattern for a tile floor. For completely non-aesthetic reasons, the image pleases Jwa-Min Nam, Dimitra Georganopoulou and Savka Stoeva. They huddle around it, their faces so tight to the screen their shoulders brush. "This is good," Nam says. "But we want it to be better." The three young researchers at Northwestern University have taught atoms to sniff out a disease and bark like hound dogs when they find it. Today they're trying to isolate the "scent" of Alzheimer's disease.
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