Health researchers believe they may have found an important cause of Alzheimer’s Disease. The hope is that such a discovery will help medical professionals develop new and more effective methods for treating the devastating illness.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, recently identified a defect in a brain signaling pathway that they believe may play a contributing role in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Those behind the study, including Dr. Guojun Bu, say the defect is related to an overproduction of toxic protein and a loss of communication between neurons. It’s been known for some time that these are contributing factors in the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Bu says the pathway plays an important part in cell survival. When it’s disturbed by the production of too much protein disease can be the result.
Bu acknowledges that the defect is probably not the only factor in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. However, he believes his team’s finding is important “and could be therapeutically targeted to possibly prevent Alzheimer’s or treat early disease.”
Now, the goal is to regulate activity in the pathway in an effort to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. According to reports, Bu’s team is already testing treatments designed to help slow or speed up activity in the pathway.
“It may be possible to use the science … to figure out how to boost activity in the pathway,” Bu said.
Overall, Bu believes his team has taken an important step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s, which currently affects more than five million people in the United States alone. “This is a really exciting new strategy,” Bu said. ” A new and fresh approach.”