If there is one constant in Alzheimer’s disease research, it is change. It seems as though whenever scientists begin to get a grasp on one aspect, emerging insight shifts their hypotheses in a different direction. That’s certainly the situation with the astounding new understanding in the advancement of the disease.
For the first time ever, scientists from the University of Cambridge have been in a position to study human data as opposed to animal models. Their conclusions point to an origin of the disease in multiple parts of the brain, rather than a single location that sets off a chain reaction, as previously understood from studies of the brains of mice.
Dr. Georg Meisl of Cambridge’s Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry explains, “The thinking had been that Alzheimer’s develops in a way that’s similar to many cancers: the aggregates form in one region and then spread through the brain. But instead, we found that when Alzheimer’s starts there are already aggregates in multiple regions of the brain, and so trying to stop the spread between regions will do little to slow the disease.”
This means that, the disease’s advancement is based upon how rapidly cells are destroyed in these various regions. This new information will be very beneficial in the development of treatment plans that focus on the processes that happen at the start of Alzheimer’s. More positive news: the replication of the tau and amyloid beta proteins responsible for the disease takes place slowly, and our neurons are already evolving to stop the aggregation of these proteins. The hope is that soon, science and biology will work in tandem to help the millions of men and women impacted by the disease.
The next phase will likely be for scientists to further explore the processes involved in the very first stages associated with the disease, while expanding research to other health conditions, for example, progressive supranuclear palsy and traumatic brain injury. The information obtained may even help shed light onto more effective treatments for other common neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.
If a loved one is battling Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, get in touch with our dementia care team for helpful resources and assistance with skilled, creative, hands-on care. Our innovative, caring and patient methods help reduce the strain of challenging behaviors including:
- And many others
Give us a call any time at 757-640-0557 and we can discuss solutions to assist with the specific issues an older adult you love is facing. You are never alone with Seniorcorp’s experienced dementia and home care services in Norfolk and the nearby communities.