In the United States alone, one in 10 people over 65 are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. To make matters worse, 1 in 3 seniors will most likely die from this disease or from another form of dementia. You might think that with all these grim statistics, we may draw nearer to a cure. Yet, no such cure is available and there is nothing promising in the near future.
Scientists have recently started experimenting with young blood transplants and brain pacemakers but they are still far from something concrete. A team of scientists from King’s College London (or KCL for short) claim that they know just why that is happening.
The beta-amyloid protein is tied very closely to the onset of the disease, as it is overproduced in these cases. That’s why, the vast majority of treatments and drugs are designed to slow its production down, or even reverse it. This protein damages and attacks synapses, the connections occurring between the brain’s nerve cells. This leads to anything from memory problems to dementia and eventually, death.
Until now, it was unknown that, as the synapses are destroyed, neurons end up producing more of this protein which makes the problem worse by creating a dangerous feedback loop which causes more synapses to be damaged. The research was published in the Translational Psychiatry journal and its senior author, Richard Killick, a lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (KCL), said that “we think that once this feedback loop gets out of control it is too late for drugs which target beta-amyloid to be effective, and this could explain why so many Alzheimer’s drug trials have failed”.
Besides this finding, the researchers believe they came across a helpful drug too. Fasudil is clinically approved and already used in China and Japan to treat stroke patients and it can, apparently, break the harmful cycle.
Laura grew up in a small town in northern Quebec. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Laura is an advocate for people with disabilities.