Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Measuring Metabolism Can Predict the Progress of Alzheimer's with 90% Accuracy

08.11.2012
Metabolic studies could lead to new therapies, says a TAU researcher
When it comes to Alzheimer's disease, scientists usually — and understandably — look to the brain as their first center of attention. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University say that early clues regarding the progression of the disease can be found in the brain's metabolism.

In very early stages of the disease, before any symptoms appear, metabolic processes are already beginning to change in the brain, says PhD candidate Shiri Stempler of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine. Working with Profs. Eytan Ruppin and Lior Wolf of TAU's Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Stempler has developed predictor models that use metabolic information to pinpoint the progression of Alzheimer's. These models were 90 percent accurate in predicting the stage of the disease.

Published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, the research is the first step towards identifying biomarkers that may ensure better detection and analysis of the disease at an early stage, all with a simple blood test. It could also lead to novel therapies. "We hope that by studying metabolism, and the alterations to metabolism that occur in the very early stages of the disease, we can find new therapeutic strategies," adds Stempler.

Interrupting a regulated process

Metabolism describes a set of chemical reactions in cells which sustain life by controlling processes such as growth and reproduction. It is also responsible for providing energy to the body. To delve deeper into the connection between metabolism, brain functioning, and Alzheimer's disease, the researchers used data collected from the hippocampus region of the brain. Controlling memory and learning, this region of the brain is damaged as Alzheimer's progresses.

Based on the number of metabolic genes found in the neurons and surrounding tissue, they built a predictive model which relates abnormalities in these genes to the progression of the disease. Out of almost 1500 genes, the researchers were able to select 50 genes that were the most predictive of Alzheimer's, says Stempler, noting that in Alzheimer's patients these genes are either over or under expressed, meaning that there are either too many or too few.

When they compared the findings from these 50 genes among Alzheimer's patients, healthy patients, and primates (including chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys), the researchers discovered that in all but the Alzheimer's group, the number of the specific genes was tightly limited, with little difference in their number between individuals among each of the species, she explains. This implies that these genes are significant to normal brain functioning, and their strict regulation in healthy patients is compromised by Alzheimer's disease.

Exploring new pathways

Whether metabolic changes are a cause of the disease or merely a symptom remains a topic for future study. But the discovery of this connection is encouraging. "The correlation between metabolic gene expression and cognitive score in Alzheimer's patients is even higher than the correlation we see in medical literature between beta amyloid plaques – found in deposits in the brains of Alzheimer's patients — and cognitive score, pointing to a strong association between cognitive decline and an altered metabolism," Stempler says.

Next the researchers will try to identify biomarkers in the blood that are associated with these metabolic changes. They may lead to detection and information about the disease's progression with an easy and non-invasive blood test. And as their work advances, Stempler hopes to develop therapeutic strategies that are based around these alterations in the metabolic network to help Alzheimer's patients, such as medications that can re-introduce strict regulation over gene expression. They believe that the research is a promising direction for Alzheimer's research.

George Hunka | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aftau.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Satellite-based Laser Measurement Technology against Climate Change

17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering

Studying fundamental particles in materials

17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>