Alzheimer’s disease is a sickness that affects the brain. People with this disease slowly lose their memory and ability to think clearly.
One sign of Alzheimer’s is when a type of protein, called amyloid-β, clumps together in the brain. This clumping causes inflammation, or swelling, which is not good for the brain.
What is the apoE4 Gene?
Everyone has a gene called apoE, but there are different types of this gene. One type, called apoE4, can make a person more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, more than half of the people who have Alzheimer’s disease have the apoE4 gene.
What is the Complement System?
Our bodies have a system to fight off things that shouldn’t be there, like germs. This system is called the immune system.
One part of the immune system is the “complement system”. This system helps our body get rid of things that could make us sick.
How Does the apoE4 Gene Work in the Brain?
Scientists at the University of Helsinki in Finland did a study to understand how the apoE4 gene affects the brain.
They found that the apoE4 gene doesn’t work very well with a part of the immune system called factor H. This factor is important because it helps to control inflammation in the body.
Usually, factor H works with the apoE gene to control inflammation caused by the clumps of amyloid-β protein.
But if someone has the apoE4 type of the gene, factor H doesn’t work as well. This means that the protein clumps can cause more inflammation in the brain.
Can We Improve How the apoE4 Gene Works?
The researchers think that if we can find a way to make factor H work better with the apoE4 gene, it might stop the harmful clumps and inflammation in the brain.
This could help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. They plan to do more studies to try to find a way to make this happen.
What Does This Mean for People with Alzheimer’s Disease?
Right now, the medicines that doctors give to people with Alzheimer’s disease only slow down the changes in the brain. They don’t stop the disease from starting.
But if the scientists can find a way to make factor H and the apoE4 gene work together better, it might be able to prevent the disease.
The Future of Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Alzheimer’s disease is a big problem that is only going to get bigger. As people get older, more and more people will get this disease.
This will make it harder for doctors and hospitals to take care of everyone who needs help.
That’s why it’s so important for scientists to keep doing research about Alzheimer’s disease.
If we can understand more about how this disease works, we might be able to find a way to stop it. This new study about the apoE4 gene is a step in the right direction.
If you care about dementia, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and common nutrient in meat, fish and beans may be key to preventing Alzheimer’s.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that cranberries could help boost memory, and many older people have this non-Alzheimer’s dementia.
The study was published in EMBO reports.
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