Updated – 7:45pm
RESEARCHERS AT TRINITY College have shed light on a fundamental cause of Alzheimer’s disease which they say could lead to new form of therapy for those living with the condition.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia globally and affects up to 40,000 people in Ireland today. It is the fourth leading cause of death in individuals over the age of 65 and it is the only cause of death among the top ten that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed down.
The research was published this week in leading international journal Science Advances. It involves a key characteristic of the disease – a build-up of a small protein called ‘amyloid beta’ in the brain of patients.
When the brain is unable to clear this protein, plaques build up and this is a major factor in the process of Alzheimer’s.Source: Trinity College Dublin/YouTube
It is unclear how this protein is usually cleared but Trinity researchers found it can pass between the cells in blood vessels in the brain.
This could offer a new way of removing this protein from the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s.
“We’re quite excited that this could be a novel approach to treating or thinking about treating Alzheimer’s as an adjunct, as an additive therapy to the current therapies that are being developed,” commented Dr Matthew Campbell.
Working with the Dublin Brain Bank, which is based in Beaumont Hospital, the researchers from Trinity examined brain tissues of individuals who were affected by Alzheimer’s disease during their lifetime and then compared results to those observed in model systems in the laboratory.
The next steps now are to consider how periodic clearance of the protein through blood vessels might be achieved.
First published 10:30am