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 One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>