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Researchers discover evidence of Alzheimer’s trigger

By , 2:40 am on

Study results are promising for early detection of disease

 A recent study has shed promising light on a potential method to detect early Alzheimer’s and possibly treat or prevent the disease before symptoms even appear. The study concluded that a decline in glucose levels in the brain starts to occur right before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear. Researchers at Temple University believe this discovery may lead to treatments that prevent Alzheimer’s disease from taking hold by keeping glucose levels in the brain from dropping in the first place.

For years, researchers and doctors have noticed an association between declining brain glucose levels and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. However, until now, no one had found that they are a trigger for cognitive impairments.

The study was conducted on mice, and the results were published in the J ournal of Translational Psychiatry in January. As anticipated, mice that were deprived of glucose in their brains showed signs of mental decline that indicated a breakdown of communication between neurons. The same mice also performed worse in maze memory tests than the control mice who were not deprived of glucose. Because cognitive decline is impacted by glucose levels, researchers suggest that a protein known as “p38,” which regulates glucose in the body, could possibly have a role in preventing Alzheimer’s. Early tests with p38 show that the anti-inflammatory properties of the protein may reduce the formation of plaques in the brain that are associated with dementia.

All tests conducted by the team at Temple University were performed on mice, and much more research and development is needed before human trials begin; however, these scientists are encouraged. Lead researcher, Dr. Domenico Praticò, called the findings “extremely exciting.”

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