New Findings on Alzheimer’s Disease

Sarah Hogg, Staff Writer

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Alzheimer’s disease is a deadly form of dementia affecting millions of people worldwide; it deteriorates the brain, making it challenging for people to think, remember, make decisions, and live a high quality of life. As Alzheimer’s progresses, people with it begin to forget who they are, where they are, and they become extremely disoriented. Hundreds of researchers have looked for a cause and cure, and hundreds of different causes have been theorized. Until recently, the dominant theory about the cause is that toxic amyloid protein accumulates in tangles or plaques between cells of memory function parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus and neocortex. However, as more research has been conducted, this theory seems further and further from the truth. Experimental medicines targeting the amyloid proteins have had practically no effect on the progression of Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, autopsies conducted on the brains of people who died of Alzheimer’s provide no consistent evidence these protein tangles could be the cause.  

However, a recent study has revealed a correlation between mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, and Alzheimer’s. An experiment was recently conducted on the cause of Alzheimer’s by testing pyramidal neurons. These neurons are responsible for processing information, and are usually killed off by diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The team found that mitochondria are negatively affected by oligomeric amyloid beta. A new theory has developed, claiming that the strand of oligomeric amyloid beta that affects the mitochondria is what causes Alzheimer’s.

If this is the case, there is hope for a cure. Researchers have discovered that pre-treating neurons can dilute the effect of the oligomeric amyloid acid on the mitochondria. Pretreatment with a compound like CoQ10 raises ATP and limits oxidative stress. This pretreatment could be the cure we are looking for, and help millions of people in the future.

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