Saturday October 20, 2018

Protective molecule against Alzheimer’s identified

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New York: Giving the search for Alzheimer’s therapies a shot in the arm, researchers have identified the steps that a molecule takes to protect the brain from toxic effects of protein fragments known as amyloid beta, a hallmark of the progressive brain disorder.

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“Our discovery centers on a protein called WAVE1, which we found to be important in the production of amyloid beta,” said study author Paul Greengard, professor at Rockefeller University in New York.

“The reduction of WAVE1 appears to have a protective effect against the disease,” Greengard noted.

Brain cells themselves make amyloid beta, and for reasons that are not fully understood, its accumulation ultimately contributes to the memory loss, personality changes, and other symptoms that patients with this degenerative disease often suffer from.

“When levels of amyloid beta rise, there is an accompanying increase in another molecule, AICD, which reduces the expression of WAVE1. This has the effect of reducing the production of amyloid beta,” Greengard explained.

“By targeting steps within this newly discovered pathway, it may be possible to develop drugs to reduce amyloid beta that potentially could be used to either treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease,” Greengard pointed out.

WAVE1 is known to help to build filaments of a protein called actin that serve as basic components of cellular structures.

In the current study, the team, examined the levels of WAVE1 in mouse and cellular models of Alzheimer’s disease.

They found a dose-dependent response: Mice brains with low WAVE1 levels produced less amyloid-?, and these animals performed better on memory tests.

(IANS)

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Novel AI Tool May help to Predict Alzheimer’s risk

Globally, around 50 million people have dementia and the total number is projected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 in 2050, according to the World Health Organization

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New AI tool can predict Alzheimer's risk. Pixabay

A team of scientists, including one of an Indian-origin, has successfully trained a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm that may soon help doctors to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease and provide intervention.

The team, from the McGill University in Canada, designed an algorithm that learns signatures from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetics, and clinical data.

This specific algorithm can help predict whether an individual’s cognitive faculties are likely to deteriorate towards Alzheimer’s in the next five years.

“At the moment, there are limited ways to treat Alzheimer’s and the best evidence we have is for prevention. Our AI methodology could have significant implications as a ‘doctor’s assistant’ that would help stream people onto the right pathway for treatment,” Mallar Chakravarty, assistant professor at the University’s Department of Psychiatry.

“For example, one could even initiate lifestyle changes that may delay the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether,” she added.

Alzheimer's
In Alzheimer’s disease, patients start losing memory, Pixabay

For the study, published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, the team trained their algorithms using data from more than 800 people ranging from normal healthy seniors to those experiencing mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease patients.

“We are currently working on testing the accuracy of predictions using new data. It will help us to refine predictions and determine if we can predict even farther into the future,” Chakravarty noted.

With more data, doctors would be able to better identify those in the population at greatest risk for cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.

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Globally, around 50 million people have dementia and the total number is projected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 in 2050, according to the World Health Organization.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Presently, there is no truly effective treatment for this disease. (IANS)

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