If there is one constant thing in the race to unravel the mystery of Alzheimer’s, it is change. It seems as if whenever medical researchers start to get a grasp on a single piece, emerging data shifts their hypotheses in an alternative direction. That is most certainly the case with the incredible new understanding in the progression of the condition.
For the very first time ever, investigators from the University of Cambridge have been in a position to study human data as opposed to animal models. Their research about Alzheimer’s points to an origin of the disease in multiple regions of the brain, instead of a single location that sets off a chain reaction, as formerly understood from research 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.”
As a result, the disease’s development is predicated upon how quickly cells are wiped out in these various regions. This new understanding is likely to be incredibly helpful in the advancement of treatment options that focus on the processes that occur at the outset of the disease. More good news: the replication of the tau and amyloid beta proteins responsible for the disease takes place very slowly, and our neurons are already evolving to stop the aggregation of these proteins. Hopefully soon, science and biology can work together to assist the millions of men and women impacted by Alzheimer’s.
The next step will likely be for researchers to more fully investigate the processes involved in the earliest stages associated with the disease, while extending research to other conditions, for example, progressive supranuclear palsy and traumatic brain injury. The data obtained may possibly help shed light onto more effective treatments for other common neurodegenerative diseases, like 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 beneficial resources and assistance with innovative, skilled, hands-on caregiving support. Our creative, patient, and caring methods help reduce the stress of challenging behaviors such as:
- And many others
Email or call us any time at (213) 383-2273, and we can discuss solutions to assist with the particular issues an older adult you love is facing. You’re never alone with JFS Care’s highly trained dementia care experts on your side! Contact us today to learn more about our elder care in Los Angeles, or visit our Service Area page to see all of the communities we serve.