Recent studies show that about 40 percent of Americans over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease; therefore, hundreds of scientist are researching ways to intervene and untimely treat Alzheimer’s. Within the month of August 2018 there has been scientific progression in counteracting memory loss as well as developing new techniques to understand the disease itself.
If you were to view a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease under a microscope you would see abnormal clusters of plaques and protein fragments building up between nerve cells. In addition, dead and dying nerve cells create tangles. The most damaging aspect of the plaques is its ability to completely block signals at a junction in the nerve called the synapse. In simple terms, the synapse is the point of communication between two neurons or a neuron and a cell. Ultimately when the synapse is obstructed the neurons can’t instruct or communicate with important human body parts such as muscle’s or glands. The growth of these plaques is one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. A new development by Purdue University now provides researchers with a 3D look of brain molecules with much greater details. This revolutionary nasoscope helps scientists understand the structure of plaques that form in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. The goal is to use this invention to potentially stop the formation of the plaques.
Another recent discovery links aspirin and reduces the severity of Alzheimer’s disease. One of the most chiefly used medications in the world can actually reduce the amount of amyloid plaque commonly founding in brains affected with Alzheimer’s. When running tests with lab mice, scientists found Aspirin stimulates lysosomes or properties of the cell that clear cellular debris.
Dementia diseases impair the ability to form new memory; making it extremely important to study the role neuron’s play in memory and learning. Researchers at Uppsala University have unraveled the significance of the OLM cells. When the OLM cells were overactive on experiments with lab mice, the mice’s memory and learning functions worsened. Now researchers are one step closer to finding which cells they should primarily look at when studying memory loss. Uppsala University is continuing to study OLM cells and other memory related links to Alzheimer’s. They believe that certain cells, maybe even OLM cells, can improve memory under specific conditions as well.
You could learn more about scientific progression towards curing Alzheimer’s disease on websites such as Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Association. You could also get involved in funding research by finding your “walk against Alzheimer’s”though ISTAART.