Posted on Mar 19, 2019, 10 p.m.
There is still no known cure for this mind wasting disease as scientists still don’t understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but some are starting to see the disease as a whole body problem which manifests in the brain, as published in Molecular Psychiatry.
Alzheimer’s disease is not something that anyone wants to be diagnosed with, as neurodegenerative diseases are somewhat difficult to manage and treat due to the brain being a complex and sensitive organ. Alzheimer’s disease was thought to begin in the brain, but newer research is showing that the disease may be caused outside of the brain.
Rather than targeting the brain, University of British Columbia researchers looked at the bigger picture, the entire body: AD may be caused by debilitating beta amyloid proteins from the liver and kidney which travel up via the bloodstream to the brain, where they clump together to form insoluble plaques in nerves that cause disruption of electrical signals.
The team demonstrated how the protein moves around using parabiosis by attaching 2 mice together to share the same blood supply. As mice don’t naturally develop AD one of the mice was genetically modified to carry a mutant human gene that produces high levels of beta amyloid; results show the healthy mouse connected to the modified mouse contracted Alzheimer’s disease after 1 year. The mice developed plaques and tangles of protein strands inside their brain cells that disrupted functions of the organ which eventually caused their demise.
The blood brain barrier weakens with age, this may be the reason why beta amyloids from other parts of the body are able to infiltrate the brain. Although beta amyloids are produced in the brain those from other parts of the brain accelerate clumping and hasten the effects of neurodegenerative conditions. If a way is devised to biochemically tag these beta amyloids they kidneys and liver might be able process and expel them from the body before they can cause harm.
It is estimated that every 66 seconds someone within the USA develops this chronic neurodegenerative disease, and more than 5 million Americans are living with this condition that is the 6th leading cause of death in the nation, killing more than breast and prostate cancer combined. If left ignored the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease could rise to 16 million or higher by 2050.
It is troubling to be diagnosed with AD, there are some drugs which may help to manage the symptoms, but no cure. You can help to reduce your risks of developing this disease by living a healthy active lifestyle with includes sleep, both mental and physical exercise, keeping stress levels in check, a well balanced diet, and being engaged socially.
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