Alzheimers Plaques And Cholesterol
While cholesterol is often associated with clogged arteries and heart disease, it plays important roles in the healthy body. The body makes cholesterol naturally so it can produce hormones and carry out other important functions. The new discovery from Ferris and her collaborators adds a new entry to cholesterols list of responsibilities.
The work also sheds light on the role of astrocytes in Alzheimers disease. Scientists have known that these common brain cells undergo dramatic changes in Alzheimers, but they have been uncertain if the cells were suffering from the disease or contributing to it. The new results from Ferris and her collaborators suggest the latter.
The scientists found that astrocytes help drive the progression of Alzheimers by making and distributing cholesterol to brain cells called neurons. This cholesterol buildup increases amyloid beta production and, in turn, fuels plaque accumulation.
Normally, cholesterol is kept quite low in neurons, limiting the buildup of amyloid beta. But in Alzheimers, the neurons lose their ability to regulate amyloid beta, and the result is plaque formation.
How Does The Brain Work
The brain controls thoughts, memory, speech, movements of the limbs, and organ function. There are many parts to the brain, and each section has a specific role to play in the human body.
Four lobes make up the brain:
Frontal lobe – the largest of the four lobes, is responsible for the bodys motor skills, such as voluntary movement, language, and intellectual and behavioral functions. This area controls memory, intelligence, concentration, temper and personality.
Temporal lobe – located on each side of the brain at ear level, is important for hearing, memory and speech.
Parietal lobe – at the center of the brain, is where sensory information like heat, pressure and pain is received and interpreted.
Occipital lobe – found at the back of the brain, is primarily responsible for vision.
Can Amyloid Plaques Be Dissolved Or Reduced
This question has been the focus of drug development for many years. BrightFocus has funded the work of scientists who have shown various methods of clearing away plaques. For example, Dr. Matthew Campbell has experimented with temporarily disrupting the blood-brain barrier to clear out existing plaques. After many heartbreaking clinical trial failures, there is growing concern among the scientific and medical communities that clearing plaques may not be sufficient to treat the disease. This is a very active area of research.
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The Connection Between Exercise And Brain Plaque Reduction
Scientists reported that when we exercise, our brains produce a protein known as Irisin, which benefits our thinking abilities and may even lead to neural growth in the hippocampus. In another recent study, scientists found that aerobic exercise could make your brain act up to 20 years younger. The benefits of exercise dont end there: Researchers think that in addition to sleep, exercising could also decrease Alzheimers-related plaques and tangles in the brain.
Last year, scientists pushed mice genetically engineered to have Alzheimers to exercise for up to three hours at a time by giving them running wheels. They gave the other Alzheimers mice gene therapy and drugs meant to help them form new nerve cells. The researchers learned that the mice who exercised did better on cognitive tests than the other group and had smaller levels of beta-amyloid plaques in their brains. Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki said that exercise can alsore-sculpt your brain and lower dementia risk by up to 90 percent.
How Is Amyloid Plaques Removed
Alzheimers Amyloid plaque can be removed with the help of Vitamin D and Omega3. Together, they boost the immunity to increase the fighting ability of a person especially when it comes to Alzheimers disease. Vitamin D is very essential for the growth of bone and improving immune system. Most of the deficiencies can be seen in the winter months or those who prefer staying indoor with Alzheimers disease.
On the contrary, Omega 3 fatty acids are a vital component for healthy metabolism. They are mostly found in plant and marine oils. Moreover, Omega 3 can significantly reduce inflammation throughout the body.
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Metabolic Problems And Endocrine Abnormalities
Other Types Of Dementia
Other conditions that contribute to dementia include:
- Mixed dementia: This happens when several conditions contribute to your dementia. Alzheimers disease, Lewy body conditions, and vascular conditions may all be present in a case of mixed dementia.
- Huntingtons disease: This genetic condition causes damage to nerve cells in your spine and brain. You may start to notice symptoms of dementia and cognitive decline after you turn 30 if you have it.
- Parkinsons disease: The damage to your nerves caused by Parkinsons can cause dementia.
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: This brain condition is thought to be caused by problems with your brain proteins or by contact with brain or nerve tissue that carries a disease. Symptoms dont often appear until after you turn 60.
These conditions are often caused by a mix of risk factors, including family history and lifestyle choices. Huntingtons disease can only be passed through families and cant be developed if you dont have the genes for it.
Some risk factors for dementia cant be controlled, including:
- your age, as your risk increases after you turn 65
- losing your memory naturally as you age
- Down syndrome, which often causes early onset dementia
- your genes, as a family history of dementia can increase your risk of developing dementia
Other risk factors may respond to lifestyle changes or treatment. These include:
- drinking a lot of alcohol
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Dementia And Alzheimers: A Rising Crisis
Alzheimers is considered one of the greatest health challenges of the century. The fifth leading cause of death for those 65 years and older, Alzheimers affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans about 1 in 3 seniors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics predicts the number of U.S. patients diagnosed with Alzheimers will more than double to 9.1 million in the next 35 years.
As a research institution devoted to promoting lifelong health, USC has more than 70 researchers dedicated to the prevention, treatment and potential cure of Alzheimers disease. USC researchers across a range of disciplines are examining the health, societal and political effects and implications of the disease.
In the past decade, the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health has nearly doubled its investment in USC research. The investments include an Alzheimer Disease Research Center.
Nations lab at USC Dornsife is part of the multidisciplinary effort. He focuses on understanding cognitive decline associated with age-related changes in vascular structure and function. Vascular dementia is at the root of an estimated 10 percent of all Alzheimers cases, according to the Alzheimers Association.
In Animal Models The New Compound Modulated A Key Enzyme Reducing Or Eliminating Production Of Problematic Protein Fragments Human Clinical Trials Needed
In this artists rendering, amyloid plaques are interspersed among neurons. These aggregates of misfolded proteins disrupt and kill brain cells, and are a hallmark of Alzheimers disease. Photo credit: National Institute of Aging
Amyloid plaques are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimers disease clumps of misfolded proteins that accumulate in the brain, disrupting and killing neurons and resulting in the progressive cognitive impairment that is characteristic of the widespread neurological disorder.
In a new study, published March 2, 2021 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine , researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and elsewhere have identified a new drug that could prevent AD by modulating, rather than inhibiting, a key enzyme involved in forming amyloid plaques.
In studies using rodents and monkeys, the researchers report the drug was found to be safe and effective, paving the way for possible clinical trials in humans.
Alzheimers disease is an extraordinarily complex and multi-faceted condition that has, so far, defied effective treatment, let alone prevention, said senior author Steven L. Wagner, PhD, professor in the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine. Our findings suggest a potential therapy that might prevent one of the key elements of AD.
GSMs offer the ability to mitigate mechanism-based toxicities associated with -secretase inhibitors, said Wagner.
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What Are Brain Lesions
Brain lesions are a type of damage to any part of brain. Lesions can be due to disease, trauma or a birth defect. Sometimes lesions appear in a specific area of the brain. At other times, the lesions are present in a large part of the brain tissue. At first, brain lesions may not produce any symptoms. As lesions worsen with time, the symptoms become more noticeable.
Bad Bacteria And Other Microbes
It might seem surprising that a mouth bacterium has been implicated in Alzheimers disease . But it wouldnt be the first time an illness has turned out to have an unexpected infectious origin.
The iconic case is stomach ulcers, once thought to be caused by stress or excess acid, and treated with acid-lowering medications. Then Australian doctor Barry Marshall showed that a stomach bacterium called Helicobacter pylori was behind them, a feat that won him a Nobel prize.
Streptococcus bacteria, which cause tonsillitis and strep throat, are suspected of triggering obsessive-compulsive disorder in children. The thinking is that the immune systems attack on the bacteria cross-reacts with certain human proteins, causing an autoimmune attack against the persons own brain tissue.
Bacteria arent the only ones under suspicion. There are indications that a virus is behind some cases of obesity. And one study has found that people with antibodies to a single-celled brain parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which is spread in cat faeces, are more likely to develop schizophrenia. Some people think up to a third of cases could be caused by infection with T. gondii.
But not all purported links bear fruit. Twenty years ago, there was great excitement when a bacterium that can cause pneumonia lung infections was found in the blood vessel plaques that cause heart disease. But giving people antibiotics to kill this bug didnt help reduce heart attacks. Clare Wilson
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High Resistance In Alzheimers Patients
To measure resistance in the brains vessels, Nation developed an index that represents a ratio of average blood pressure to regional cerebral blood flow. A high index ranking for resistance indicates that amyloid is building up and that the patient is progressing toward dementia, Nation said.
The Alzheimers Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database used for the study is an extensive repository of medical data from an estimated 1,000 volunteers age 5590. The data include results of genetic, memory and cognitive tests, brain scans and blood biomarker information.
Nation used data on three groups of volunteers: 112 men and women who did not have any amyloid buildup in their brains, 87 who did and 33 who had Alzheimers. The researchers controlled for characteristics including whether the people were carriers of the Alzheimers gene, ApoE4, which can significantly raise the risk of the disease.
Nation found that the 33 people with Alzheimers had lower blood flow in their brains than the people without dementia. These blood flow changes were undetectable in the earlier stages of the disease, when amyloid was accumulating, but there were no obvious signs of memory loss.
The people with Alzheimers also measured much higher on the cerebrovascular resistance index.
Our findings suggest that change in resistance may be an early and key phenomenon in the brain thats closely linked to the symptoms of cognitive decline in the future.
Characteristics Of Alzheimer Disease
- In Alzheimer disease: Neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles
The presence of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain are used to diagnose Alzheimer disease in autopsy. Neuritic plaquesalso called senile, dendritic, or amyloid plaquesconsist of deteriorating neuronal material surrounding deposits of a sticky protein called amyloid beta
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How Brain Plaque Affects Your Memory
Beta-amyloid, a toxic protein when it builds up in the brain to form plaques, is a hallmark of Alzheimers disease. But many people have beta-amyloid buildup in the brain for years without showing severe memory loss or other symptoms of dementia.
Now, two new studies, the largest and most detailed to examine the role of beta-amyloid in Alzheimers to date, took a closer look at beta-amyloid buildup in the brain. The findings, published in JAMA, a journal of the American Medical Association, could have important implications for diagnosing Alzheimers at an early stage, when treatment might be most effective. Better understanding of how beta-amyloid affects the brain could also lead to new approaches to prevent the disease, which affects some 25 million people worldwide.
In one study, researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands pooled data from 55 studies to examine more closely the buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain. Altogether, they looked at medical records from more than 7,500 men and women who ranged in age from 18 to 100.
Some of those in the study had memory complaints others did not. There were 2,914 men and women who were free of memory problems 697 had subjective complaints of memory loss and 3,972 had been given a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, a form of memory or other cognitive loss that can precede Alzheimers disease.
What Causes Beta Amyloid Plaques
Beta amyloid molecules are initially found in very small strands that can dissolve in the fluid between cells, which will be washed out of the brain. However, the enzyme that cuts APP into beta amyloid is not very precise and can also result in slightly larger strands that do not dissolve. The longer strands are very sticky at the level of individual molecules and start the process of clumping into the deposits referred to as plaques.
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What Happens To The Brain In Alzheimer’s Disease
The healthy human brain contains tens of billions of neuronsspecialized cells that process and transmit information via electrical and chemical signals. They send messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to the muscles and organs of the body. Alzheimers disease disrupts this communication among neurons, resulting in loss of function and cell death.
What Is The Prognosis For A Brain Lesion
Because of the many different types of brain lesions, the prognosis and outcomes of brain lesions are variable. However, with most brain lesion types, the more brain tissue that is damaged or killed by a brain lesion, the worse the prognosis is for the person. Fortunately, the reverse is also generally true, but is mainly limited to lesions caused by mild trauma, strokes that affect a very small brain tissue area, a few rapidly treated infections, and occasionally, a few benign and malignant tumors that are effectively treated.
For some brain lesion types, the damage to some brain tissue is not reversible, so the prognosis may be only fair to good, as long as the person’s problems do not progress. Another problem with prognosis is that some brain lesions may recur , while others are simply progressive with no effective definitive cure available. The prognosis in the short term may be good if the symptoms respond to treatment, but the long-term prognosis usually is considered to be, at best, fair to eventually poor , due to their progressive nature.
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Do Genetics Cause Excess Brain Plaque
Scientists found three genetic mutations that greatly increase your early-onset Alzheimers risk. The APP, PSEN1 and PSEN2 gene mutations cause the brain to create too much beta-amyloid and tau plaques and tangles. The TREM2 mutation also prevents the brain from eliminating harmful plaques and tangles. In addition, the ApoE4 gene increases Alzheimers risk by up to 12 times. The gene has also been shown to impact how tau and beta-amyloid affect the brain. Still, researchers emphasize that a family history of Alzheimers doesnt necessarily mean that you will develop the disease.
How Are Brain Lesions Diagnosed
If symptoms suggest that a person may be suffering from a brain lesion, it is important to contact the doctor for an appointment. A doctor will help diagnose and offer treatment options for each patient depending on the extent of the condition.
The doctor will ask questions about the patients symptoms and medical history and then perform a physical examination.
In order to find the location of the lesion, the doctor may touch the patients skin with hot, cold or vibrating objects, and also may pinch the patient to check for the feeling of pain. Additional tests may also be recommended by the doctor to further assess the condition.
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Amyloid Plaques And Neurocognitive Health
Immune cells in the brain view malformed protein as a signal that something is not working correctly, and they attack the nerve cells. The problem is when a faulty protein break creates the beta-amyloid protein.
As the beta-amyloid disintegrates, it generates harmful free radicals, which in turn affect and destroy cell membranes. The resulting mass of dead cells becomes entangled and forms beta-amyloid plaque.
The build-up causes the nerve fibers to alter the brains memory center, making it difficult for them to carry information to and from the brain. Additionally, it can hamper the formation of new memories and make it harder to recall earlier memories.
Once the amyloid plaques accumulate in the brain, they damage the newer cells. These spiral filaments of protein form irregular circles around the nerve cells and lead to the cells death and destruction.1