Thursday January 18, 2018

A study finds: What causes dementia?

0
//
60
1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay
1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay
Republish
Reprint

Dementia results in a progressive and irreversible loss of nerve cells and brain functioning, causing loss of memory and cognitive impairments affecting the ability to learn. Currently, there is no cure.

Findings

  • The toxic build-up of urea, a compound created by the liver, in the brain has been found as the major reason that can cause brain damage and lead to Huntington’s Disease, one of seven major types of age-related dementia.
  • Urea level peaks in the brain even before dementia sets in. The discovery could one day help doctors diagnose and even treat dementia.
  • Urea is similarly linked to Alzheimer’s, suggesting that the toxic build-up of urea could be relevant to all types of age-related dementias.
44 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. Pixabay
44 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. Pixabay

“This study on Huntington’s Disease is the final piece of the jigsaw which leads us to conclude that high brain urea plays a pivotal role in dementia,” said Garth Cooper, Professor at The University of Manchester.

“Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s are at opposite ends of the dementia spectrum — so if this holds true for these types, then I believe it is highly likely it will hold true for all the major age-related dementias,” Cooper said, in the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Urea and ammonia in the brain are metabolic breakdown products of protein. If urea and ammonia build up in the body because the kidneys are unable to eliminate them, for example, serious symptoms can result, the researchers said.

“More research, however, is needed to discover the source of the elevated urea in Huntington’s Disease, particularly concerning the potential involvement of ammonia and a systemic metabolic defect,” Cooper noted.

For the study, the team used human brains, donated by families for medical research, as well as transgenic sheep in Australia.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Could diabetes drug cure Alzheimer’s disease?

The drug, originally created to treat type 2 diabetes, "significantly reversed memory loss" in mice

0
//
66
Diabetes drug can help people with alzheimer's disease and other kind of dementia
Diabetes drug can help people with alzheimer's disease and other kind of dementia :Pixabay

Alzheimer’s disease can be treated by a drug which was developed for diabetes. The drug uses a triple method of action.

Memory reversing drug

  • The drug, originally created to treat type 2 diabetes, “significantly reversed memory loss” in mice.
  • In a maze test, learning and memory formation were much improved by the drug.
  • It also enhanced the levels of a brain growth factor which protects nerve cell functioning.
  • It reduced the amount of amyloid plaques in the brain linked with Alzheimer’s, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • The drug also slowed down the rate of nerve cell loss.
A lady with Alzheimer's :Pixabay
A lady with Alzheimer’s :Pixabay

According to lead researcher Professor Christian Holscher of Lancaster University, the treatment “holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease”.

Current and coming scenario

The disease is the most common cause of dementia. As per Alzheimer’s Society — a care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers — the numbers are expected to rise to two million people in Britain by 2051.

“With no new treatments in nearly 15 years, we need to find new ways of tackling Alzheimer’s,” Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, was quoted as saying.

“It’s imperative that we explore whether drugs developed to treat other conditions can benefit people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. This approach to research could make it much quicker to get promising new drugs to the people who need them,” Brown added. (IANS)

Next Story