Uncovering the Mystery of Alzheimer’s
Every day there is new information released regarding possible causes and treatments for Alzheimer’s. That’s a good thing! Scientists have known for some time that a protein called amyloid is related to the onset of this terrible disease. This protein is the sticky substance that clumps together to form plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
But now scientists know that there is another protein called Tau that could very well be yet another culprit.
Tau is a protein that is formed when brain cells die. It causes memory loss because it disrupts the communication between neurons. This new research is significant because although Tao has been considered an early biomarker for Alzheimer’s for some time, the new findings shows a direct link between this protein and a specific area of the brain. The hope is that this data could possibly lead to better treatment strategies before the disease has the chance to cause significant damage.
Currently drugs are being used to reduce amyloid plaques and the good news is that these drugs can also reduce Tau as well. But until the reductions in Tau can be linked to memory improvement, the results of this research may not mean that much.The mystery of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is such a complex disease. It’s incurable, degenerative, and eventually fatal. And while scientists know the Alzheimer’s is caused by brain cell failure, what causes cells to fail in the first place isn’t clearly understood. Most experts believe the cause is a result of many factors rather than a singular one. Age and genetics are certainly risk factors, but there are still many unanswered questions.
That’s why funding for Alzheimer’s research is so critical. It’s the only way scientists will be allowed to continue to strive for understanding of just how the disease progresses, the causes, and a possible cure. Currently there are about 5 million patients in the United States suffering with Alzheimer’s and as this country’s baby boomers grow older; the number is likely to grow as well. Global numbers are even more troubling. Alzheimer’s affects more than 26 million people worldwide.
Some experts in the field believe the research centering on amyloid proteins has gone about as far as it can go. Perhaps it’s time to re-imagine the disease so more creative treatment options can emerge. Imagine a world without Alzheimer’s. Only continued and dedicated research will make it possible.