starshipcat (starshipcat) wrote,

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A Cure for Alzheimer's

This one is a bit personal for me, considering that dementia runs in my mother's family -- of her eight aunts and uncles on her father's side, six had significant memory care issues by the end of their lives. So I'm always alert when there is any news of a possible cure for Alzheimer's.

This article is of particular interest because it suggests that our present understanding of the disease is completely back-to-front. Until now, scientists have generally assumed that the plaques and tangles in the brain are the result of the amalyoid proteins building up in it, and have centered their research on drugs that will break down these proteins. However, most of these drugs have at best staved off further deterioration, and often have serious negative side effects.

However, there is growing evidence that the amalyoid protein may be a symptom, but not necessarily a cause. For instance, scientists have found people who have amalyoid proteins in their brains, but remained sharp mentally right up to their final days.

Instead, the new focus is on bacteria, and specifically a bacterium that is generally associated with gum disease. It is known that there is a correlation between tooth loss and dementia, but it has often been assumed that decreased quality of nutrition as patients are less able to chew leads to the brain becoming more susceptible to deterioration. However, it now seems that the causal link may be far more direct than previously thought.
Tags: health, science

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