Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research team identifies cause of memory loss

16.03.2006


Identification may lead to drug development targeted to dementia



A research team that included members from The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Minnesota Medical School has for the first time identified a substance in the brain that is proven to cause memory loss. This identification gives drug developers a target for creating drugs to treat memory loss in patients with dementia.

Karen H. Ashe of the University of Minnesota Medical School led the research team, which is publishing its results in the March 16 issue of Nature. The team included Michela Gallagher, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor and chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins, and Ming T. Koh, a post-doctoral fellow.


"Now that we have found a protein complex that causes cognitive decline and loss of memory, we will be able to aim our investigations not only to learning how that substance is implicated in disease, but also toward prevention," Gallagher said.

More specifically, once the memory-robbing protein complex is better understood, drugs could be developed to stop Alzheimer’s disease in its tracks, the researchers say.

Currently about 4.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, a number that is expected to rise to 14 million over the next two decades.

In the past, it was generally accepted that Alzheimer’s disease was caused by plaques and tangles, unnatural accumulations of two naturally occurring proteins in the brain: amyloid-beta, which builds into plaques between nerve cells in the brain; and tau, which forms the tangles inside nerve cells.

Ashe’s lab proved last year that the tangles are not the cause of memory loss; this latest research shows the plaques aren’t a major cause either.

People with Alzheimer’s disease exhibit memory impairment before they are formally diagnosed, or before nerve cells in their brains begin to die. Thus, it is often difficult to discern whether people are experiencing the normal memory impairment that comes with aging or if they are, in fact, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers hypothesized that there was a substance in the brain that causes memory decline that is present even before nerve cells begin to die. To test that hypothesis, the team used mice whose genetic makeup was manipulated to develop memory loss much in a way people develop subtle memory problems before the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Using mice that showed early signs of memory loss and had no plaques or nerve cell loss in the brain, they discovered a form of the amyloid-beta protein that is distinct from plaques. They extracted and purified this newly found protein complex and injected it into healthy rats. The rats suffered cognitive impairment, confirming that this protein has a detrimental effect on memory.

Researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Irvine, also collaborated on the research.

Lisa DeNike | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Flexible sensors can detect movement in GI tract
11.10.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>