Monday December 10, 2018

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

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Many Countries Refused To Endorse Landmark Study as Climate Conference Enters Second Week

The environmental ministers arrive at COP24 and many delegates hope that they will make every effort to include the IPCC report in the conference agenda.

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Climate Change
Climate activists attend the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, as the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. VOA

As the U.N. global climate conference in Katowice, Poland entered its second week Sunday, the non-governmental environmental organization Greenpeace demanded urgent action from world leaders to tackle climate change.

Greenpeace activists projected a message onto the roof of the “Spodek” arena where the COP24 is being held, saying “No Hope Without Climate Action: and “Politicians Talk, Leaders Act.”

 

Amazon, Climate
Logs that were illegally cut from Amazon rainforest are transported on a barge on the Tapajos river, a tributary of the Amazon, near the city of Santarem, Para state. VOA

 

Disappointing many of the scientists and delegates at the conference, the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait refused to endorse a landmark study on global warming which was to be the benchmark for future action in curbing the global warming.

The four nations wanted only to “note” but not “welcome” the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that was released in October, in keeping with the views of the Trump administration. With no consensus on including the report, the idea was dropped.

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In this photograph released by the Sri Lankan Air Force media division on May 29, 2017, flooding is seen in the country’s Matara district. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has announced he is pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, tweeted Saturday that “people do not want to pay large sums of money … in order to maybe protect the environment.”

The IPCC’ report said that drastic actions would be needed to achieve the Paris accord’s most ambitious target of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report warned that the world was far from that target and heading more towards an increase of 3 degrees Celsius.

Also Read: To Help Poor Countries Adapt To Global Warming, World Bank Doubles Its Funding

On Monday, the environmental ministers arrive at COP24 and many delegates hope that they will make every effort to include the IPCC report in the conference agenda. (VOA)