Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Possible breakthrough in Alzheimer's research?

Via the BBC:

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as an exciting and historic moment in medical research.  More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients.  But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and other diseases.  The University of Leicester discovery showed all brain cell death from prion disease in mice could be prevented.

The research team at the university's Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit focused on the natural defence mechanisms built into brain cells.  When a virus hijacks a brain cell it leads to a build-up of viral proteins. Cells respond by shutting down nearly all protein production in order to halt the virus's spread.  However, many neurodegenerative diseases

Human brain

involve the production of faulty or "misfolded" proteins. These activate the same defences, but with more severe consequences.

The misfolded proteins linger and the brain cells shut down protein production for so long that they eventually starve themselves to death.

Read the full story here.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/elder_law/2013/10/possible-breakthrough-in-alzheimers-research.html

Cognitive Impairment, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, Science | Permalink

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