The scientific findings published in the latest edition of Nature Medicine suggest a potential new target for the development of drug therapies to fight the irreversible and degenerative disease which affects some 29.8 million people worldwide. The total worldwide societal cost of dementia was estimated at somewhere in the region of US$315.4 billion in 2005.
Alzheimer's disease is marked by the build-up of plaques consisting of beta-amyloid protein fragments, as well as abnormal tangles of tau protein found inside brain cells. Early in the disease, Alzheimer's pathology is first observed in the hippocampus, the part of the brain important to memory, and gradually spreads to the cerebral cortex, the outer layer of the brain.
The team of Irish and international researchers have identified that the accumulation of a particular protein (called amyloid ß-protein - Aß) in the brain initiates Alzheimer’s disease and that it directly alters the structure and function of brain cells. The findings place a significant emphasis on the development of new therapeutic strategies targeted at the reduction of the formation of Aß as opposed to the reduction of the plaque burden associated with the disease.
“Alzheimer’s disease is a major personal and societal tragedy,” says Professor Ciaran Regan from the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, University College Dublin, one of the co-authors of the report. “The disease progression is torturously long and debilitating, extorting a huge emotional and economic cost.”
“The onset of the disease is insidious with the earliest symptoms often manifested as subtle and intermittent deficits of episodic memory,” explains Professor Dominic Walsh, associate Professor of Pharmacology at the UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, another co-author of the report.
“Our findings support the growing theory that Alzheimers’s disease memory deficits may result from loss of dendritic spines and that this process is mediated by amyloid ß–protein (Aß) oligomers, not monomer or plaque Aß as previously considered.”
The research is supported by the Wellcome Trust, Science Foundation Ireland and the US National Institutes of Health.
The co-authors in teams which contributed to the study include Ganesh Shankar, Shaomin Li, Tapan Mehta, Nina Shepardson, Cynthia Lemere, Bernardo Sabatini and Dennis Selkoe from Harvard Medical School; Michael Rowan from Trinity College Dublin; Michael Farrell and Francesca Brett from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; and Amaya Garcia-Munoz and Imelda Smith from University College Dublin.
Dominic Martella | alfa
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences