Possible Cause of Alzheimer’s Identified By Researchers

Possible Cause of Alzheimer's Identified By Researchers

(ConservativeInsider.org) – Alzheimer’s Disease impacts more than 6 million Americans age 65 and older. It’s officially the sixth leading cause of death in the US, but some experts believe it’s actually the third leading cause of death in older people. Scientists have now made a major breakthrough in relation to the disease.

On November 24, University of California, Riverside (UCR) researchers published a groundbreaking study. The scientists revealed they’d been studying the different forms of tau proteins. Researchers discovered 20% of brain samples from people with plaques (abnormal clusters of protein fragments) and tangles (twisted strands of protein and dead/dying nerve cells) did not have dementia. Those people had a normal form of tau. The others who developed plaques and tangles, who did have dementia, also had something called a “different-handed” form of tau.

The discovery led researchers to believe they may have found the cause of Alzheimer’s Disease. In a press release, UCR Chemistry Professor Ryan Julian explained the study showed that the plaques are not the cause of the disease. That discovery caused scientists to study tau proteins. They discovered autophagy — the body’s mechanism to clean up bad protein cells — could be the solution to treating the disease. However, that process slows down in people 65 and over.

Currently, drugs are being tested to improve autophagy, but researchers discovered fasting and exercise can also speed it up. Julian explained, that if further research shows a slowdown in autophagy is the cause of Alzheimer’s, then he believes figuring out ways to improve it could help the millions of Americans suffering from the disease.

Copyright 2021, ConservativeInsider.org