New nasal spray may protect brain from Alzheimer’s, epilepsy

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Scientists from Augusta University found that a novel peptide augments the brain’s natural mechanism to help prevent seizures and protect neurons in Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.

The A1R-CT peptide the scientists developed, which can be administered through a nasal spray, holds promise for tamping down the uncontrolled electrical activity that is common after traumatic brain injury, or stroke, and which affects more than half of individuals with Alzheimer’s.

The fact that it can be delivered through the nose indicates the peptide’s potential as a new seizure rescue medication as well, to help interrupt, for example, a seizure cluster, where disabling seizures are occurring back-to-back.

A1R-CT works by inhibiting neurabin, a protein that helps ensure that the protective mechanism itself, which tamps down the hyperexcitability of neurons that disrupts normal communication and produces seizures, doesn’t overdo, she says.

This natural, calming relationship also is known to block electrical activity that can result in an irregular heartbeat. In fact, an injectable form of adenosine is used to treat a very high heart rate.

Alzheimer’s often is accompanied by seizures because the characteristic buildup of the proteins amyloid and tau in the brain disrupts communication between neurons, creating increased oxidative stress and resulting in inflammation.

Seizures can precede the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s and definitely contribute to it.

A1 receptor activation by adenosine in this type of hyperactive scenario makes it seem like a logical treatment target for seizures.

But the fact that it is so pervasive throughout the body, including in the heart, lungs, and kidneys, makes potential extensive side effects likely.

The team says that the next steps include additional exploration of ideal doses and delivery times for specific conditions the peptide may be used to treat.

Epileptic seizures are common after a traumatic brain injury; a stroke, which is considered an acquired brain injury; and chronic neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s.

As much as 64% of some 50 million individuals with Alzheimer’s experience seizures, the scientists write.

Patients can experience generalized tonic-clonic seizures, in which they fall down, shake and become unresponsive.

Also, focal onset seizures, tend to be shorter and may include repetitive movement of the arms or legs, lip smacking, and chewing.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about why some older people are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease, and this daily habit could help treat Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about a common food that may reduce vascular disease in the brain, and results showing scientists find a strong link between COVID and this brain disease.

The research was published in JCI Insight and conducted by Dr. Qin Wang et al.

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