Dementia Progression Identified Via Novel Approach

First Posted: Mar 23, 2015 11:36 AM EDT

New findings published in The Journal of Cell Biology look at the identification of novel steps in dementia progression by researchers at the University of York.

For the study, researchers worked with scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Puerto Rico, looking at synapses, otherwise known as the connections between neurons, to study how these changes in the protein CHMP2B are linked to Frontotemporal Dementia.

When looking at certain uncovered mechanisms that control neuron growth and overgrowth, researchers studied signals that normally involved the immune reactions and how they have not been seen to function in synapse growth previously.

First researchers looked at the effects of CHMP2B by using Drosophila, a series of fruit flies, and findings were confirmed via mammalian neurons when identifying novel steps of disease progression that could potentially be targeted by drugs to halt cognitive decline.

"These findings shed light on the events occurring in neurons as dementia takes hold," said Dr Sean Sweeney, of the Department of Biology, University of York, in a news release. "The more we know about the steps that occur in disease progression, the more opportunities we have to intervene with potential therapies."

"'We hope that this work helps to tease apart complex molecular processes occurring in neurons and identify how these can go wrong in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Frontotemporal Dementia," concluded lead study author Dr. Ryan West.

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