Gene Mutation Arrests Alzheimerâ€™s Disease
It is reported that nearly 30 million people in this world fight Alzheimer's disease. This number is expected to quadruple by 2050. Even though the researchers discovered rare gene mutation that is responsible but never found anything conclusive.
However, for the first time they have found the gene mutation that protects against Alzheimer's disease. This new finding has raised fresh hopes of treating the debilitating condition.
This new finding that was published in the Journal Nature, suggests that new drugs that mimic the mutation's effect could do the same.
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Dr. William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer's Association, a research and advocacy group said, "Less than 1 percent of the population has these alleles or DNA variants. So there's no impetus to go out and get tested. But many companies are working on compounds that target the mechanism they found and so might be encouraged by these results."
The presence of amyloid protein plaques in the brain detects the presence of Alzheimer's disease. And the gene for amyloid beta precursor protein (APP) plays a key role in formation of these plaques. This new study done by the researchers from Reykjavik, Iceland, found that a mutation in this gene may help protect against Alzheimer's disease and age-related mental decline.
Though this type is very rare, but the impact makes sure that there is at least 40 percent reduction in amyloid plaque-forming proteins. The study was conducted on people between the age group 80 to 100 years old without Alzheimer's disease and who carry this mutation, and also have better mental function than those without the mutation.
Sam Gandy, MD, PhD, Mount Sinai chair in Alzheimer's disease research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City said, "This is an extraordinary paper. This provides some of the strongest evidence ever that amyloid is the right target in Alzheimer's. Amyloid researchers the world over couldn't have asked for a better morale booster. This is a great gift to those at high risk for future development of Alzheimer's disease because this means our prevention trials are aiming at the right target. But, for those already suffering, this will have little benefit in terms of new drugs soon."
According to the Alzheimer's Association, "Alzheimer's disease affects memory and thinking. Symptoms usually develop slowly and worsen with time. One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer's disease, making it the most common type of dementia in the U.S."
While researchers are deeply involved in the new treatment, it is said that by bringing some changes in our lifestyle we can protect the brain and lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. These include regular physical activity, excessive consumption of fruits and vegetables in diet and engaging in mental activities.
For the researchers now the strategy remains as to how to use new brain scans and other methods to find and treat people before they have symptoms of mental decline.