HEALTH

New hope for a treatment for Alzheimer’s is provided by scientists who measure brain cell death

Scientists in the UK have claimed to have discovered the cause of the brain cell death that results in Alzheimer’s, raising the prospect of a brand-new class of medications that may one day treat the illness.

The most frequent cause of dementia (a loss in mental abilities such as memory and thinking), Alzheimer’s disease.

Among its many complicated causes is the amyloid and tau protein buildup in the brain, which results in the formation of plaques and tangles, tiny structures that impair brain function.

Additionally, there is a loss of neurons, or brain cells, which causes neural networks to malfunction and cause memory loss.

It has never been known how those two processes are related, and therefore, how to stop the loss of neurons.

Researchers from University College London and KU Leuven in Belgium discovered a link between the accumulation of aberrant proteins and “necroptosis,” a similar kind of cell suicide often performed by human bodies to get rid of undesirable cells.

In addition to the development of tau tangles and the accumulation of amyloid plaques between neurons, brain cells also create a chemical called MEG3 that leads to cellular suicide.

Scientists used genetically altered mice as study subjects and transplanted human brain cells into them. These animals generated large amounts of amyloid, but by limiting the creation of MEG3, the researchers were able to stop cellular suicide.

According to Dr. Susan Kohlhaas of Alzheimer’s Research UK, “This discovery is significant because it points to new mechanisms of cell death in Alzheimer’s disease that we didn’t previously understand and could pave the way for new treatments to slow, or even stop, disease progression in the future.”

After years of discussion among scientists, the discovery explains “how and why neurons die in Alzheimer’s disease.” “provides really strong evidence” of a “specific suicide pathway,” and professor Bart De Strooper, a member of the study team, thinks it might result in the creation of a “whole new line of drugs.”

 

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