Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Alzheimer's researcher reveals a protein's dual destructiveness - and therapeutic potential

December 04, 2012

A scientist at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health has identified the molecule that controls a scissor-like protein responsible for the production of plaques - the telltale sign of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

The molecule, known as GSK3-beta, activates a gene that creates a protein, called BACE1. When BACE1 cuts another protein, called APP, the resulting fragment - known as amyloid beta - forms tiny fibers that clump together into plaques in the brain, eventually killing neural cells.

Using an animal model, Dr. Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer's Disease and professor of psychiatry, found that disabling GSK3-beta's effect in mice resulted in less BACE1 and far fewer deposits of amyloid in their brains. Song's research, published online today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, also found that such mice performed better than untreated mice on memory tests.

Previous research had shown that GSK3-beta spurred the growth of twisted fibers inside neurons, known as tangles - another hallmark of AD. Song says his discovery of the protein's dual destructiveness makes it a promising target for drug research.

GSK3-beta, however, is a versatile enzyme that controls many vital physiological functions. The drug used to inhibit GSK3-beta in the mice is too indiscriminate, and could cause several serious side effects, including cancer.

"If we can find a way to stop GSK3-beta's specific reaction with BACE1, and still leave it intact to perform other crucial tasks, we have a much better chance of treating AD and preventing its progression," says Song, a member of the Brain Research Centre at UBC and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI), and Director of the Townsend Family Laboratories at UBC.


BACKGROUND | Alzheimer's research

An elusive target: Finding AD therapies is particularly challenging because by the time symptoms of memory loss and cognitive decline appear, much of the damage - in the form of plaques and tangles - has already been done and is irreversible. To demonstrate a preventive effect, a new drug would have to be given to a very large group of people, and those people followed over a long period of time to determine if AD rates are lower than a control group.

China connection: Dr. Song conducted some of this research in Chongqing, China, where he is Director of the Canada-China Joint Center for Translational Medical Research in Child Development and Alzheimer's Disease - a partnership between UBC and the Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University.

The University of British Columbia


Related Alzheimer's Disease Current Events and Alzheimer's Disease News Articles


Evidence of a lipid link in the inherited form of Alzheimer's disease
Australian researchers have found biochemical changes occurring in the blood, in the rare inherited form of Alzheimer's disease.

Head injury patients develop brain clumps associated with Alzheimer's disease
Scientists have revealed that protein clumps associated with Alzheimer's disease are also found in the brains of people who have had a head injury.

Pills for anxiety and sleep problems not linked to increased dementia risk
Taking benzodiazepines (widely used drugs to treat anxiety and insomnia) is not associated with an increased dementia risk in older adults, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Fishing for answers about mercury consumption
It's a fishy situation: On the one hand, multiple scientific studies have found that eating seafood helps protect against dementia. On the other hand (or fin), seafood also is a source of the element mercury, which has been thought to cause damage to cells in the brain, contributing to cognitive impairment.

Study shows increased risk of early mortality in women with hypertensive disease
It has long been recognized that pregnancy puts considerable stress on the body and that there are specific conditions during pregnancy that will indicate lifelong health issues.

Study determines saliva gland test can spot early Parkinson's disease
Researchers from Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Banner Sun Health Research Institute have determined that testing a portion of a person's submandibular gland may be a way to diagnose early Parkinson's disease.

Gene study points towards therapies for common brain disorders
Scientists have pinpointed the cells that are likely to trigger common brain disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and intellectual disabilities.

A key mechanism has been discovered which prevents memory loss in Alzheimer's disease
Neurons communicate with one another by synaptic connections, where information is exchanged from one neuron to its neighbor.

Chronic stress and anxiety can damage the brain
A scientific review paper warns that people need to find ways to reduce chronic stress and anxiety in their lives or they may be at increased risk for developing depression and even dementia.

Environmental toxin may increase risk of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative illnesses
A new study published today in the science journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B indicates that chronic exposure to an environmental toxin may increase risk of neurodegenerative illness.
More Alzheimer's Disease Current Events and Alzheimer's Disease News Articles

Alzheimer 's Disease and Risks: Simplified

Alzheimer 's Disease and Risks: Simplified


This book is a comprehensive guide and review for anyone who wishes to learn about the Alzheimer’s disease. You may have someone in the family who suffers from it or you may just be curious to learn about it. Regardless, this book is sure to benefit you by providing you a complete interface of the disease. We will start from the very basics on what the disease actually is, how it starts and its scientific mechanism in comprehensive way.
In addition, the signs and symptoms will be talked about in detail in order to enable you to make an efficient diagnosis if you come across such an individual. We will also talk about who is more likely to be affected by it, how it can be treated, prevented and how to deal with it. This will be in terms of both the patient as well as the family....

Living With Alzheimer?s Disease: A Complete Guide to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's

Living With Alzheimer?s Disease: A Complete Guide to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's
by Linda H. Harris (Author)


Dementia, Memory Loss & Alzheimer’s Disease Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive form of dementia that kills brain cells, leading to continual loss of memory, intellectual capacity, and eventual death. Sadly, no treatment has been found to stop its progression. Living with Alzheimer's Disease: A Complete Guide to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's provides a valuable resource for individuals struggling with the effects of Alzheimer's, and those who care for them. This book is filled with current information to help sufferers and their caretakers understand the many facets and stages of the disease. It explains initial signs that there may be a problem, diagnosis, the different stages, symptoms and suggestions for coping with them, and varied treatment plans, including helpful diet...

Alzheimer's Disease: What If There Was a Cure?: The Story of Ketones

Alzheimer's Disease: What If There Was a Cure?: The Story of Ketones
by Mary T Newport (Author)


In this second edition Dr. Newport, a neonatal practitioner, continues the story of Steve's progress and provides the most recent research on such topics as possible causes of Alzheimer's due to the herpes simplex virus and nitrosamine substances and how infection, inflammation and genetic makeup may affect an individual's response to fatty acid therapy.

Outsmarting Alzheimer's: What You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk

Outsmarting Alzheimer's: What You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk
by M.D. Kenneth S. Kosik (Author)


An easy-to-follow, research-based guide to the simple, low-cost choices that give the reader the power to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia; slow the progression of the disease; and mitigate symptoms and improve well-being.

Did you know that getting on the treadmill can help keep your brain sharp? Or that repeatedly staying up to catch the late show could increase the likelihood of being struck down by dementia? The dozens of choices you make over the course of any average day—ordering the curry versus the burger with fries, taking the stairs versus the elevator—all add up. Together with your family history, they establish your chances of getting Alzheimer’s years from now. No drugs or procedures can cure or even effectively treat Alzheimer’s...

The Alzheimer's Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach for Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment (Volume 1)

The Alzheimer's Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach for Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment (Volume 1)
by Richard S Isaacson MD (Author), Christopher N Ochner PhD (Author)


Harvard-trained Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson and renowned nutrition expert, Dr. Christopher Ochner team up to create this ground-breaking nutritional guide for individuals concerned about memory loss. In recent years, there has been an explosion in research on nutritional interventions for Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment, which is considered to be the most severe public health crisis of our day. These specific dietary interventions present new hope for individuals concerned about memory loss, and also have rapidly expanding scientific-evidence to support their effectiveness. Based on empirical evidence, The Alzheimer’s Diet outlines what to eat, what not to eat, and highlights a step-by-step approach for improving memory and protecting the brain through diet. This...

Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer's

Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer's
by Thomas DeBaggio (Author)


"We are foolish, those of us who think we can escape the traps of aging," writes Tom DeBaggio. "I was one of them, dreaming of a perfect and healthy old age....Now, at fifty-eight, I realize the foolishness of my dreams as I watch my brain self-destruct from Alzheimer's." Losing My Mind is DeBaggio's extraordinary account of his early onset Alzheimer's, a disease that "silently hollows the brain" and slowly "gobbles memory and destroys life." But with DeBaggio's curse came an unexpected blessing: the ability to chart the mechanics and musings of his failing mind.
Whether describing the happy days of his youth or lamenting over the burden his disease has placed upon his loved ones, DeBaggio manages to inspire the reader with his ability to function, to think, and ultimately to...

Alzheimer's Disease: What If There Was a Cure?

Alzheimer's Disease: What If There Was a Cure?
by Mary T Newport (Author)


Though Dr. Mary T. Newport has provided professional care to newborns since 1983, she's led a double life since 2000 when she became a caregiver at home. That's when her beloved husband, Steve, first showed signs of Alzheimer's disease. After his deterioration accelerated in 2004, Dr. Newport began avidly researching ways to keep him functional for as long as possible. Since she understands medical terminology and scientific methods, she was thrilled to find new research showing that medium- chain fatty acids, which act like an alternative fuel in the insulin-deficient Alzheimer's brain, can sometimes reverse or at least stabilize the disease. When she gave Steve about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (a source of these fats) at breakfast before a memory test that he had previously failed,...

Mayo Clinic Guide Alzheimer's Disease

Mayo Clinic Guide Alzheimer's Disease
by Mayo Clinic (Author)


This book includes: explanation of the early signs and symptoms of dementia and how they differ from normal aging; latest information on Alheizer's, research advances in the understanding of mild cognitive impairment, a transitional stage between a normal state and dementia; Action Guide for caregivers with tips and strategies for someone becoming a caregiver.

Alzheimer's Treatment Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide, 2012 Edition

Alzheimer's Treatment Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide, 2012 Edition
by Dr. Richard S Isaacson MD (Author)


Harvard-trained Neurologist Dr. Richard Isaacson answers the most common patient and caregiver questions on the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD). He shares his cutting edge, comprehensive approach in the fight against AD, the greatest public health crisis today. This groundbreaking book has been written especially for patients, caregivers, family members, and allied healthcare professionals. Dr. Isaacson writes in easy to understand terms and easy to read (larger-type) print to help educate and inform those confronting AD. He outlines his comprehensive and scientifically-based approach that includes a comprehenisve 9-week diet and nutrition plan, with examples of what to eat, what not to eat, and a food terminology guide to help read and understand nutrition labels. ...

Second Forgetting: Remembering the Power of the Gospel during Alzheimer's Disease

Second Forgetting: Remembering the Power of the Gospel during Alzheimer's Disease
by Dr. Benjamin T. Mast (Author), Scotty Smith (Foreword)


Charles is 78 years old and there is much he cannot remember. He cannot remember the names of his children, why he lives in a nursing home, or even whether he ate breakfast today. His forgetting causes confusion, and in his fear and uncertainty he sometimes lashes out at those who try to care for him. But when someone reads a favorite Psalm he quickly joins in, reciting each cherished word. When he hears an old hymn of faith, his hand slowly raises and he breathes out each word quietly, his face reflecting a peace that passes all understanding. Alzheimer’s disease has been described as the “defining disease” of the baby boomer generation. Millions of Americans will spend much of their retirement years either caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or experiencing its...

© 2016 BrightSurf.com