Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.
In most people with the disease — those with the late-onset type symptoms first appear in their mid-60s.
In a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, scientists found a new contributor to Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) currently has no cure and is predicted to affect over 100 million people worldwide by 2050. Ongoing research is focused on two key neurotoxic proteins: amyloid beta (Aβ) and tau.
While these proteins have been shown to be linked to AD, for some people with the disease, the levels of Aβ and tau do not consistently explain or correlate with the severity of the cognitive decline.
In the study, the team aimed to identify other proteins that may be directly involved with fundamental aspects of AD, like synaptic loss and neurodegeneration.
They exposed laboratory neurons to human brain extracts from about 40 people who either had AD, were protected from AD despite having high Aβ and tau levels, or were protected from AD with little or no Aβ and tau in their brains.
The researchers found ganglioside GM2 activator (GM2A) as a protein able to reduce neuronal firing and induce a loss of neurite integrity.
These protein characteristics may contribute to the cause of AD, the progression of the disease, or both.
The data helps identify a new and potentially important protein that may be associated with the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, GM2A has been previously implicated as a causative agent in a lysosomal storage disorder very similar to Tay-Sachs disease, another condition like AD that destroys neurons.
If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about antioxidants that could help reduce the risk of dementia, and 5 steps to protect against Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that the herb rosemary could help fight COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s disease, and results showing this stuff in the mouth may help prevent Alzheimer’s.
The study was conducted by Tracy Young-Pearse et al and published in Molecular Neurodegeneration.
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