Researchers Make Groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Discovery

Researchers Make Groundbreaking Alzheimer's Discovery

( – Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain condition that slowly erodes a person’s memory and affects behavior. The debilitating and heart-wrenching brain disorder affects almost 6 million Americans, according to the CDC.

Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to stop this slow killer; scientists are unsure of the disease’s cause. However, researchers in Australia recently made a discovery that might change that trajectory and lead to a new approach to slow or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Research in Australia

An Australian study released on September 14 showed the likely cause of this devastating disease may be a toxic fat protein that damages brain cells by breaking through the blood-brain barrier. This “breakthrough” discovery could be the key to developing new strategies to combat Alzheimer’s by targeting and decreasing the protein in the blood.

Although scientists knew these proteins, called beta-amyloids, accumulated in the brains of those who suffered from the condition, they didn’t know why. But the study, conducted by the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, saw it was the combination of the beta-amyloid proteins and lipoproteins (fats) that allowed leakage from capillaries into the brain.

The overabundance of these invaders causes inflammation and cell death, likely leading to the development and advancement of the disease.

The study’s lead author, Dr. John Mamo, stated if researchers can figure out how to “manage the levels [of the toxic proteins] in blood,” they could prevent Alzheimer’s or at least slow its progression.

Current Treatments

The specific treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease varies, but it typically centers around managing symptoms and slowing the progression of the brain’s decline into dementia. Doctors can use prescription drugs to help manage the patient’s symptoms, but that doesn’t eliminate the disease’s presence. And most medications don’t help those in the advanced stages of the condition.

The study follows the June 7 FDA approval of a controversial medication, Aduhelm, believed to reduce the number of amyloid protein deposits in the brain and slow cognitive decline. However, its approval sparked heavy debate among experts over the effectiveness of the drug.

A Look to the Future

Although the Australian study is exciting and adds to the growing knowledge scientists need to defeat this disease, the medical community needs further studies to pinpoint exactly how to prevent Alzheimer’s and help those already suffering.

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