New re­search tar­gets Alzheimer’s cause

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - HEALTHY LIVING -

SCI­EN­TISTS have de­vel­oped a new way of bat­tling Alzheimer’s.

In re­search be­ing hailed as a world first, they aim to tar­get toxic par­ti­cles that trig­ger the brain disease.

Their work could lead to tests on new drug treat­ments by 2020.

Ex­perts at Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity and from Swe­den have iden­ti­fied these par­ti­cles as the prime cause of Alzheimer’s and worked out a for­mula for tar­get­ing them.

Un­til now, drugs have tack­led Alzheimer’s symp­toms and at­tempts to dis­cover medicines to pre­vent or slow it have failed.

But in find­ings pub­lished in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional

Academy of Sci­ences, Cam­bridge re­searcher Michele Ven­dr­us­colo says: “We’ve de­vised the first strat­egy to go af­ter the cause.

“The hope is that new drugs can be de­vel­oped.”

A healthy brain has a qual­ity con­trol sys­tem that gets rid of any ex­ces­sive amounts of these pro­teins.

In Alzheimer’s, pro­teins called oligomers that usu­ally help brain cells to func­tion nor­mally “go rogue” by form­ing clumps that kill healthy nerve cells.

A sep­a­rate study, by the Uni­ver­sity Hospi­tal of Tub­in­gen in Ger­many, has shown that twoand-a-half hours a week of ex­er­cise can de­lay the ef­fects of Alzheimer’s. The brain scores of peo­ple who did phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity like swim­ming and run­ning for 150 min­utes a week were bet­ter.

Over time, the brain be­gins to shrink, caus­ing mem­ory fail­ure and per­son­al­ity changes.

HOPE: New Alzheimer’s drug treat­ments are pos­si­ble by 2020.

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