Could a new study lead to a more effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease?
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego found that previous efforts to treat Alzheimer’s disease had shown a low rate of success.
- This new discovery could point researchers in the right direction in their quest to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Let’s review: Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia identified by the decline of cognitive abilities. When a person has Alzheimer’s disease, healthy neurons in their brain stop working and connect to other neurons. This leads to significant memory loss, according to the National Institute on Aging.
What’s new: Previously, Alzheimer’s disease was thought to be caused by a buildup of amyloid plaques, which was attributed to the death of neurons. Scientists have recently discovered that this is not the case.
- “This approach did not cure or improve dementia in patients,” said Shankar Subramaniam, lead author of the Alzheimer’s Association study.
The new study shows that there are other factors that attribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease:
- Degradation of neurons: Loss of function in nerve axons. This limits the brain’s ability to transmit messages, according to the Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience.
- Suppression of neural genes: Suppression of neurons leading to loss of synaptic connection, reported by the National Institute on Aging.
- Loss of synaptic connection: Synapses are essential to how the brain completes day-to-day functioning. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a loss of connection between synapses leads to mental decline.
Where do researchers go from here? : Now that researchers know which specific endotypes – disease mechanisms – to target, a new window of opportunity is opening for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
With these discoveriesa new drug screening test has been developed by the researchers.
- This test will be used to target certain drugs and determine their effectiveness.
- This method visualizes brain tissue from a broader lens, targeting specific endotypes and targeting the specific problem area of the brain.
The bottom line: These discoveries could lead to “breakthrough treatments and better patient outcomes,” according to the National Science Foundation.