This study shows new trigger of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease

Credit: National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

A team of researchers at UT Health San Antonio recently conducted a study that has revealed a new trigger of brain inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy.

These are both neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the accumulation of tau protein in the brain.

The study found that an inflammatory trigger is also present in viral infections, and is increased in Alzheimer’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy.

Specifically, the researchers discovered that “jumping genes” (transposable elements) can relocate or copy themselves to other locations in the genome, and in the presence of tau, they can form double-stranded RNA that mimics the inflammatory trigger present in viral infections.

This abnormal RNA looks like a virus to the immune system, even though it’s a part of our normal genome.

The researchers detected an accumulation of double-stranded RNA in postmortem brain tissue from patients with Alzheimer’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy, as well as in mouse and fruit fly models of tauopathy.

This discovery is significant because it provides new insights into the mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases.

The study shows that transposable elements, which were previously not thought to be significant in these disorders, may actually be driving the disease process in addition to their ability to jump.

The researchers are now targeting jumping gene activation in a local Phase II clinical trial for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

This could pave the way for new non-drug treatments to prevent or slow the progression of these disorders.

It’s important to note that the loss of neurons, which are cells of the central nervous system, is progressive in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

While the study has identified a new trigger of brain inflammation, there is still much to learn about the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

In the meantime, research suggests that adopting a healthy lifestyle can help protect brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

For example, following the Mediterranean diet and eating strawberries have both been linked to improved brain health.

It’s also important to stay informed about the latest research in this area, in order to make informed decisions about your health.

Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain’s ability to function properly, ultimately leading to cognitive decline and memory loss.

It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases. Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first described the condition in 1906.

In Alzheimer’s disease, there is an abnormal buildup of two types of proteins in the brain: beta-amyloid and tau. Beta-amyloid forms sticky plaques between nerve cells, while tau forms tangle within the cells.

These plaques and tangles disrupt the normal communication between neurons, leading to their dysfunction and eventual death. This results in a progressive decline in memory, thinking, and behavior.

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but treatments such as medications and lifestyle interventions can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Research is ongoing to better understand the underlying mechanisms of the disease and to develop effective treatments to prevent or slow its progression.

Inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease refers to the brain’s immune response to the abnormal buildup of amyloid beta protein and tau protein in the brain.

This immune response can lead to inflammation, which can further damage brain cells and exacerbate the cognitive decline.

Inflammation is a natural and necessary process that helps the body fight infections and heal injuries.

However, chronic inflammation in the brain, as seen in Alzheimer’s disease, can lead to damage to brain tissue and neuronal death.

Research is ongoing to better understand the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease, and to develop effective treatments to target this process.

If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about daytime napping strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and how to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce dementia risk, and Coconut oil could help improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.

The study was conducted by Elizabeth Ochoa et al and published in Science Advances.

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