Thursday June 20, 2019

A ray of hope: Study reveals Alzheimer’s may be caused by misfiring immune system

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Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s

By NewsGram Staff Writer

What could be more frightening than forgetting your own identity?

Finally, a new study suggests that deprivation of an amino acid called arginine may contribute to Alzheimer’s, achronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time. It is expected that the finding could throw some light in creating new treatment strategies for patients suffering from the incapacitating illness.

A group of scientists at Duke University disclosed that their studies of Alzheimer’s in mice had shown a new process that they believe contributes to the disease’s development.

The team focused on the immune system of the rat found that cells designed to protect the brain from infection will uncharacteristically consume arginine during the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

The finding suggested that jamming this process with a drug helps in preventing the formation of ‘plaques’ in the brain that are the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, there is no assurance that a method tested on animals can work the same way on humans, still the study presents a new ray of hope for the patients of Alzheimer’s. It is so because, until now, the exact role of the immune system and arginine in Alzheimer’s was completely unidentified.

Now, researchers’ next plan is to test older mice suffering from an advanced form of Alzheimer’s.

As per the 2015 statistics of Alzheimer’s Disease International, there are nearly 44 million people worldwide who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

Next Story

Australian National University Study Warns Link Between Fast Food and Dementia

Dementia is the leading cause of death in Australian women, while for men it is second only to heart disease

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junk food, fast food
A combination hamburger served in Pyongyang, North Korea, June 12, 2018. A new Australian study links fast food, like burgers, to dementia. VOA

Research from the Australian National University (ANU) is warning of a link between the extra calories in a fast-food burger and brain diseases, including dementia.

People are “eating away at their brain with a really bad fast-food diet and little to no exercise,” the lead author of the study said. The ANU study also reinforces the link between type 2 diabetes, which is often triggered by obesity, and the rapid deterioration of brain function.

Dementia is the leading cause of death in Australian women, while for men it is second only to heart disease.

junk food
The study revealed a significant correlation between AGEs and junk food consumption, said Roberto Berni Canani, Associate Professor at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. Pixabay

A clear link

Researchers believe there is a clear link between the deterioration of the brain and an unhealthy diet as well as a lack of exercise. There is a warning that highly processed fast food that is cheap, widely available and loaded with calories, sugar and fat is leading to significant harm.

The study from the ANU says that the damage to the brain is almost certainly irreversible once a person reaches middle age. Professor Nicolas Cherbuin says lifestyle choices really do matter.

“Poorer diet leads to the development of obesity,” he said. “It is compounded by the lack of physical activity, it leads to an increased level of inflammation in our body, which when it is [in] response to trauma is a good thing. But when it is constantly there it creates damage. It also kills neurons, so it affects our brain function and it leads to ultimately a greater risk of developing dementia later in life.”

junk food
Junk Food. Wikimedia Commons

ALSO READ: High Consumption of Junk Food May Spike up Allergies in Children

A third of adults overweight, obese

The research says that about a third of the world’s adult population is either overweight or obese. The advice is to eat well and exercise from a young age. It is estimated that dementia affects almost 50 million people worldwide, and the global cost of the brain syndromes, including Alzheimer’s disease, is more than $800 billion.

At present there is no prevention or cure for most forms of dementia. However, some medication has been found to reduce some symptoms. (VOA)