Major Breakthrough In Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Treatment
New research on Alzheimer’s and dementia looks to be a breakthrough moment for diagnosing and treating the disease.
A team of researchers has found that blood leaking from brain vessels precedes the onset of Alzheimer’s. After the leaky brain capillaries, comes the well-known buildup of proteins which is usually very toxic and fatal. But discovering the first and subsequent signs of Alzheimer’s could help researchers prevent and even treat the debilitating condition.
Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the Alzheimer’s Society has adopted the study. The researchers conducted the study at the University of Southern California.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia that develops in patients age 40 and older. The first visible symptoms are impaired memory, which is followed by hampered thought and speech and finally complete helplessness. Alzheimer’s is a very debilitating and neurological disease.
With the new study, experts believe leaky brain vessels may be repaired in time to slow down the disease and even cure it. They, however, caution that further studies are necessary before medical experts can begin to adopt this treatment procedure.
Years of Research
Head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, Dr. James Pickett, revealed his scientists have been for working for many years to determine the relationship between leaking brain vessels and dementia. They had also been fighting to figure out how damaged brain capillaries could raise the risks of dementia.
The study ran over a five-year period, and 161 elderly participants were involved. During the study, the researchers established that patients with the worst memory problem also had the worst blood leakage in the brain. This discovery was constant whether the patient had abnormal amyloid and tau, malfunctioning proteins, or not.
Authur Toga, co-author of the study and a director at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, said that when brain vessels get damaged, it deprives the neurons of essential nutrients and blood flow. This could lead to further brain damage.
According to Berislav Zlokovic, a director at USC’s Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, brain scans can be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s early while targeting drugs can be used to stop the bleeding brain capillaries before symptoms begin to appear. With early diagnosis, new drugs can be administered on people before the disease advances any further.