Smith, Rhett C. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina.
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The study of metal ion function in the brain and nervous system at the molecular level. Stephen J. Lippard coined the term metalloneurochemistry in 2003 to describe this area of chemistry. The field has expanded in the past few years to include inorganic species other than metal ions. Metalloneurochemistry is thus an acutely interdisciplinary field requiring researchers in the area to have knowledge of biology, biochemistry, and inorganic chemistry. Although this challenging field was formulated just over a decade ago, its advent has spurred an incredible volume of research that has contributed significantly to understanding the complex and vital role of metal ions in both healthy and disease states. Some neurodegenerative diseases in which metal ions play a definite role include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, transmittable spongiform encephalitis (prion diseases), and Parkinson's disease. These few examples of currently incurable conditions highlight the importance of understanding the molecular basis for the deleterious effects of such disease and injury states so that rationally designed preventative and curative medicines can be developed. See also: Alzheimer's disease; Metal ions in neurodegenerative diseases of protein misfolding; Parkinson's disease; Prion disease
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