CogniFit's Science blog: Scientists Reveal New Information On Alzheimer’s Trigger

Scientists Reveal New Information On Alzheimer’s Trigger

While much has been discovered about Alzheimer’s over the years, scientists and researchers continue to hammer away at the disease to find new information daily.

Their consistent efforts continue to lead to new findings, including the latest discovery on the trigger of the horrific disease.

It is now known that a highly toxic beta-amyloid, which is a protein that exists in the brains of patients, can greatly increase the toxicity of other more common and less toxic beta-amyloids. As a result, it could act as a trigger for the growth and development of Alzheimer’s. The finding was published in the May 2 online edition of Nature.

What this could mean is better and far more effective treatments for the disease down the road. Some have even completed phase 1 clinical trials that inhibits an enzyme that ultimately catalyzes the formation of the hyertoxic version of beta-amyloid. What this can do is convert more abundant beta-amyloids into a form that is as much as 100 times more toxic.

This could kill brain cells at will and can be a terrific target for drug therapy in the future. Believe it or not, this process is quite similar to chronic wasting diseases, mad cow disease and similar diseases that see a toxic protein infect normal proteins that spread throughout the brain while destroying quickly. With Alzheimer’s, the sad result is memory loss and dementia.

A simple way to look at pyroglu beta-amyloid is as a seed that will contaminate something and make it much worse, like a trigger. As the trigger sends off a flair, it forms toxic “tangles” in the brain that lead to the onset and development of Alzheimer’s. But without the interaction, the disease has no way of beginning.

So where does the research go from here? The next step is to understand the pathway of the pyroglu beta-amyloid inducing the tau-dependent death of neurons. What this will identify is the early stages of the diseases development.

And if this conclusion can be reached, preventing or halting the disease from the beginning will become a realistic possibility. The two primary reasons to be excited over this new information is that now there is insight into how Alzheimer’s actually progresses.

In addition to this, it can lead to encouraging information of how to design drugs and other brain fitness solutions that can prevent the beta-amyloid from accumulating from the start. And if this can be done, the disease as a whole may finally begin to fade.