Researchers Halt The Development Of Alzheimer’s Disease And Partially Reverse Its Effects

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute have demonstrated that gradual reduction of an enzyme that contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease can halt the disease’s development and reverse some its effects.

Their work was reported on February 14th in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.The buildup of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain is strongly associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The plaques are primarily composed of beta-amyloid peptides. The enzyme BACE1 (also called β-secretase) plays an important role in creating these peptides, and the researchers found that gradually reducing BACE1 over time can result in both a decline in the formation of new plaques and the elimination of already-formed plaques in the brains of mice…

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Harvard researchers unveil new Alzheimer’s theory

Karen Weintraub, Special for USA TODAY 7:28 a.m. EDT May 27, 2016

Researchers at Harvard this week offered a new theory of Alzheimer’s Disease that – if true – would upend our understanding of the disease and suggest new routes for treatment and prevention.

The researchers think that the immune system may play a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s, which slowly robs people of their memory and is eventually fatal.

A protein called beta amyloid, long considered the bad actor in Alzheimer’s, actually plays a positive role in fighting off bacteria and fungus in mice, worms and cells, the researchers showed in a new paper in Science Translational Medicine.

Assuming that’s also true in people, it suggests that getting rid of amyloid, as some drug trials have tried, could be dangerous, and approaches that stimulate the immune system could be safer and more effective…

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FUNGUS FOUND IN BRAINS RAISES ALZHEIMER’S QUESTIONS

By Mariette Le RouxOctober 15, 2015 10:55 AM

Traces of fungus have been discovered in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers, researchers said Thursday, relaunching the question: might the disease be caused by an infectious microbe? There is no conclusive evidence, but if the answer turns out to be “yes”, it means Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) may be targeted with antifungal treatment, a Spanish team reported in the journal Scientific Reports. “The possibility that AD is a fungal disease, or that fungal infection is a risk factor for the disease, opens new perspectives for effective therapy for these patients,” they wrote…

A fungal cause would fit well with the characteristics of AD, the researchers added, including the slow progression of the disease and inflammation, which is an immune response to infectious agents such as fungi.

The researchers did point out, however, that fungal infection may be the result, not the cause, of AD.

Alzheimer’s sufferers may have a weaker immune response, or changes in diet or hygiene, that could leave them more exposed.

“It is evident that clinical trials will be necessary to establish a causal effect of fungal infection of AD,” wrote the team…

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