Scientists may have found a way to clear the brain of toxic chemicals that cause Alzheimer’s

By Luke Andrews Health Reporter for Dailymail.Com

Updated on August 24, 2022 at 16:22, August 24, 2022 at 17:22

  • In Alzheimer’s disease, beta amyloid builds up and clumps together in the brain
  • But researchers say they may have found a way to clear them by raising levels of another protein
  • In a study of mice genetically engineered to make more beta-amyloid, they found that compounds that boosted levels of aquaporin 4 cleared the protein faster
  • About 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s each year

A team of researchers may have found a new way to clear the brain of harmful proteins that trigger cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, opening the door to new treatments for the devastating disease.

Experts believe that Alzheimer’s is triggered by amyloid beta protein building up and clumping together in the brain, triggering obvious symptoms such as memory loss and general cognitive loss.

Raising levels of a single protein, aquaporin 4, may help remove them, found research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

In a study of mice genetically engineered to make more beta-amyloid, they found that compounds that boosted levels of aquaporin 4 cleared the harmful protein faster than those that received a placebo or inert fluid. Compound is faster.

About 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease each year, and 120,000 people die from the disease each year. The study suggests that having more aquaporin 4 can help prevent the condition — but not cure it. However, what causes Alzheimer’s disease is not known, but some scientists believe that amyloid beta accumulation is not present in all cases.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, say they have found that boosting levels of a protein in the brain can clear other proteins that cause dementia

In the study, published Wednesday in the journal Brain, scientists first investigated how aquaporin 4 is produced in the brain.

This protein is produced every now and then, ending up in what they call a “little tail.”

Initially, scientists thought it was just a fluke, because there was an error in the way the protein was made.

Older heart scans could reveal dementia risk over the next decade

A simple heart scan may be able to predict your risk of being diagnosed with dementia within a decade, a study suggests.

The researchers found that older adults with abnormalities in the left atrium were one-third more likely to develop the disease — even if they showed no signs of heart problems.

It suggests that scans, usually reserved for people with suspected heart disease or a heart attack, could help determine which people are at the highest risk of developing dementia.

The left atrium helps pump oxygenated blood to vital organs, including the brain. If there is a problem with the chamber, it reduces blood flow to the brain — a risk for dementia.

Atrial heart disease is the term for a variety of conditions that can cause the left atrium to not work properly.

It can lead to strokes and irregular heartbeats, two complications also linked to dementia.

But a study of more than 5,000 US adults in their 70s concluded that atrial heart disease was an “independent risk factor.”

The researchers, led by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, say this could help inform “new intervention strategies.”

But research soon found that the genes encoding the change were present in several different species.

Tests have shown that it is also often located around supporting cells, called astrocytes, near blood vessels. They say it’s a “perfect place” if it’s being used to get rid of unwanted substances – like beta amyloid.

To test this theory, they increased levels of aquaporin 4 in mice genetically engineered to make more beta amyloid.

Biologist Dr. Darshan Sapkota, who led the study, screened 2,560 compounds for those that might improve yields.

He found two substances that might help: apigenin — commonly found in chamomile, parsley, onions and other plants — and sulfaquinoxaline, an antibiotic used by veterinarians.

In this study, the mice were then given apigenin, sulfaquinoxaline or a placebo.

The results showed that those who got the compound cleared beta amyloid faster than those who didn’t.

It is unclear how these substances were administered to the mice via supplements or injections.

Scientists say it is not safe for people to take the antibiotic sulfaquinoxaline without a prescription.

While apigenin is available as a dietary supplement, they also caution against consuming large amounts because it is not known how much will enter the brain.

Scientists are now looking for new compounds that affect the production of aquaporin 4 for further trials—eventually in humans if they prove to be safe.

But scientists don’t yet know what causes Alzheimer’s — it affects about 6 million Americans.

The accumulation of beta amyloid in the brain is a common hypothesis because plaques impair communication between cells. But some papers suggest that — while this is relevant to this condition — it may not actually cause it.

A study of 700 people published in 2020 by the University of California, San Diego showed that beta amyloid is associated with disease in some cases, rather than the underlying cause.

“There is a lot of data showing that reducing amyloid levels by 20 to 25 percent stops amyloid accumulation, at least in mice,” said neuroscientist Dr. John Sirrito, who was involved in the study. The effect seen is that pitch.

“This tells me that this could be a new way to treat Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases that involve protein aggregation in the brain.

‘There is no indication that this process is specific to amyloid beta. For example, it may enhance the clearance of alpha-synuclein, which may also benefit Parkinson’s disease patients.

The team is now working to discover drugs that affect aquaporin 4 production by studying sulfaquinoxaline and other compounds.

Sapkota added: “We’re looking for something that can be quickly translated into the clinic.

“Just knowing that it can be targeted by drugs at all is a useful hint that we can use something.”

The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Sapkota led the research as a postdoc at the University of Washington, but is now an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia currently affecting approximately 6 million Americans.

It is thought to be caused by an abnormal buildup of proteins in and around brain cells, including beta amyloid. Others involved are called tau.

Scientists aren’t sure why these build up in some people, but it could be related to things like genetics, diet or head injuries.

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