Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Alzheimer’s disease; new approach, new possibilities?

27.07.2005


Scientists from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) associated with the University of Antwerp have achieved a new breakthrough in their research on the origins of Alzheimer’s disease. Their alternative approach opens up new prospects for developing a treatment which can slow the disease’s progress. The researchers have shown that ´the plaques´ which form in the brain of patients are linked to damage to nearby blood vessels. Leakage appears to occur between the blood vessels and the brain, as a result of which the plaques develop and the disease manifests itself. This research is published today in the ‘American Journal of Pathology’.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative disease that gradually and progressively destroys brain cells, affects between 50% and 70% of all dementia patients and is therefore the major form of dementia. About 100,000 people suffer from this disease in Belgium. The damage caused to memory and mental functioning makes it one of today’s most frightening syndromes. In particular, the first realization of the loss of any sense of reality is extremely difficult to accept. So, science continues to search feverishly for ways to treat the disease.

The formation of plaques plays a key role

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by an increasing deposit of the amyloid-ß protein in the brain. The accumulation of this protein results in ´plaques´; deposits which settle in the brain cells responsible for memory and observation. How the plaques develop is the key in the search for a treatment. Samir Kumar-Singh and his colleagues on a team headed by Christine Van Broeckhoven have unraveled how certain plaques are formed. In various mouse models, they demonstrate that the plaques attach primarily onto the blood vessels. The vessels show clear structural damage, so that the strictly-controlled separation between blood vessels and brain is compromised and leakage occurs.

A new model as a first step towards a treatment?

Under normal circumstances, the blood vessels transport the excess amyloid-ß protein away from the brain. However, the protein has a harmful effect on blood vessel walls. This effect is perhaps strengthened as a result of ageing, which causes the protein to be removed less efficiently. The blood vessel loses strength and in its immediate vicinity the accumulation of the amyloid-ß protein increases and plaques develop. Finally, the damage to the blood vessel is so great that it is no longer functional and other blood vessels take over its tasks.

The results of the research of Samir Kumar-Singh opens up alternatives for developing new treatments. For example, a treatment which promotes the removal of the amyloid-ß protein from the brain can significantly impede the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A new approach which might have far-reaching consequences. Additional research should make it possible to verify this in greater detail.

Ann Van Gysel | alfa
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses
02.12.2016 | University of Texas at San Antonio

nachricht Earlier Alzheimer's diagnosis may be possible with new imaging compound
02.11.2016 | Washington University School of Medicine

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified

05.12.2016 | Information Technology

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>