Thursday November 14, 2019

A Possible Cause For Alzheimer’s Finally Found: Researchers

In the cases of Alzheimer's and traumatic brain injury, the build-up of KCNB1 is associated with severe damage of mental function.

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alzheimer's, cholesterol
One hemisphere of a healthy brain (L) is pictured next to one hemisphere of a brain of a person suffering from Alzheimer disease. VOA

Researchers have identified a new mechanism that may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury, hoping that the discovery may lead to effective treatment.

According to researchers from Rutgers University, the causes of Alzheimer’s is unknown. But a popular theory suggests a protein known as amyloid-beta slowly builds up a plaque in the brains of people with the disease.

The research team looked at a new mechanism, which involves a non-amyloid-beta protein, a potassium channel referred to as KCNB1.

Under conditions of stress in a brain affected by Alzheimer’s, KCNB1 builds up and becomes toxic to neurons and then promotes the production of amyloid-beta. The build-up of KCNB1 channels is caused by a chemical process commonly known as oxidation.

Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s disease. Wikipedia

“Indeed, scientists have known for a long time that during aging or in neurodegenerative disease cells produce free radicals,” said co-author Federico Sesti, a professor at the varsity.

“Free radicals are toxic molecules that can cause a reaction that results in lost electrons in important cellular components, including the channels,” Sesti added.

The study, published in the journal Cell Death and Disease, found that in brains affected by Alzheimer’s, the build-up of KCNB1 was much higher compared to normal brains.

“The discovery of KCNB1’s oxidation/build-up was found through observation of both mouse and human brains, which is significant as most scientific studies do not usually go beyond observing animals,” said Sesti.

“Further, KCBB1 channels may not only contribute to Alzheimer’s but also to other conditions of stress as it was found in a recent study that they are formed following brain trauma,” Sesti added.

 Alzheimer's
A lady suffering from Alzheimer’s. Flickr

In the cases of Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injury, the build-up of KCNB1 is associated with severe damage of mental function. As a result of this discovery, the researcher successfully tested a drug called Sprycel in mice. The drug is used to treat patients with leukemia.

Also Read: A Majority of Children Die Due to Lack of Basic Healthcare Facilities: UN

The research team now hopes to launch a clinical trial to test the treatment in humans. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s How E-Cigarettes Can Be More Dangerous For Heart Health

The study also estimates that in 2018, around 3.62 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users

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E-Cigarettes
For the current findings, the team of researchers compared healthy, young adult smokers aged 18 to 38 who were regular users of E-Cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes. Pixabay

Researchers have found that electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as E-Cigarettes might be just as harmful to the heart, than traditional cigarettes.

“Our results suggest that e-cigarette use is associated with coronary vascular dysfunction at rest, even in the absence of physiologic stress, these findings indicate the opposite of what e-cigarette and vaping marketing is saying about their safety profile,” said study researcher Susan Cheng, Director of Public Health Research at the Smidt Heart Institute.

A recent study by the US Food and Drug Administration found that 27.5 per cent of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, as compared to 20.8 per cent in 2018.

The study also estimates that in 2018, around 3.62 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users.

For the current findings, the team of researchers compared healthy, young adult smokers aged 18 to 38 who were regular users of e-cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes.

The researchers then measured participants’ blood flow to the heart muscle – focusing on a measure of coronary vascular function – before and after sessions of either e-cigarette use or cigarette smoking, while participants were at rest and also after they performed a handgrip exercise which simulates physiologic stress.

It was also found that in smokers who had inhaled the traditional cigarettes, blood flow increased modestly and then decreased with subsequent stress.

However, in smokers who used e-cigarettes, blood flow decreased after both inhalation at rest and handgrip stress.

“We have known for decades that smoking increases your risk for heart attack and dying from heart disease, now, with this study, we have compelling evidence suggesting that newer methods of electronic nicotine delivery may be equally, or potentially more, harmful to your heart as traditional cigarettes,” said researcher Christine Albert.

E-Cigarettes
Researchers have found that electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as E-Cigarettes might be just as harmful to the heart, than traditional cigarettes. Pixabay

Given that e-cigarettes represent a relatively new product in the market, Albert cautions users that there may be a number of unforeseen health effects.

To better understand the potentially dangerous consequences of e-cigarettes, investigators plan on studying the mechanisms underlying changes in heart and blood vessel flow seen in their work to-date, as well as the effects of e-cigarette use across a more diverse population of study participants including those with existing cardiovascular risk.

ALSO READ: Microsoft To Unveil November Update of Windows 10

“What we are learning from our own research, along with the work of others, is that use of any electronic nicotine delivery system should be considered with a high degree of caution until more data can be gathered,” said study senior author Florian Rader.

The findings were presented at the annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2019. (IANS)