Top 5 discoveries on Alzheimer’s in 2016
Alzheimer’s disease is spreading fast – the number of cases in American elders (65 year old and higher) is predicted to increase 3 times by the year 2050. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible disease that gradually destroys memory and cognitive abilities. This disorder can damage your brain 10 years before person starts to experience mental and memory problems. Every day researchers from every corner of the Earth fighting a neverending battle with this terrible disease, searching for ways to suppress its devastating effects. Here are their work that has been done in 2016 – 5 breakthroughs in the understanding of the disease by humanity.
1. Diet and Exercise
Healthy diet and lifestyle each day as long as it’s possible in your life may be enough to reduce the amount of brain damaging protein connected to Alzheimer’s. The most recent findings were discovered by a team of researchers at UCLA’s Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
In their research which will be presented in the September 2016 issue of American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, they found that out of 44 adults suffering from memory problems, those who had a healthy BMI (body mass index), were physically active, and followed a diet closest to the Mediterranean diet had the lowest levels of plaque cluster in their brain.
Compounds found in marijuana may be able to remove amyloid beta — a toxic protein in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing that amyloid beta speeds up the rate at which neurons die, (ultimately the reason why Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease), researchers grew neurons in a lab and exposed them to marijuana’s active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol.
Their findings, published in the journal Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, revealed the THC was able to lower levels of amyloid beta protein, which protected the neurons from dying. The research team’s next step is to conduct the same experiment in animals and eventually people.
3. Menstrual Pain Drug
It’s amazing how sometimes the answer for many problems is right under our noses and we don’t see it. A casual anti-inflammatory drug Mefenamic acid that most of the times is used to relieve women from period pain I able to treat memory loss and inflammation in brain, as a team of researchers from The University of Manchester found out during their tests on mice. For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers treated one group of mice that were suffering from memory loss with mefenamic acid and a second group of mice with a placebo. Because the acid was able to relieve significant inflammation, researchers want to move forward to test the drug on humans.
What does a healthy gut have to do with dying brain cells? A new study, published in the journal of Scientific Reports on July 2016, found feeding mice antibiotics over 5 to 6 months led to a two-fold decrease in amyloid peptide plaque in the brain. Accumulation of amyloid peptides and inflammation is linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, but is also responsible for certain immune system functions. By decreasing levels of the amyloid peptides, researchers saw a dramatic improvement in the brain, ultimately slowing down the disease’s progression.
5. Personalized Treatment Plans
What if patients with early signs of Alzheimer’s could halt the disease’s progression before it got worse? Researchers from Buck Institute Research on Aging teamed up with UCLA’s Neurodegenerative Disease Research Lab to test a 36-point personalized system on patients. They found that by tailoring treatment through diet, brain stimulation, exercise, sleep hygiene, pharmaceuticals and vitamins, researchers were able to show improvements in patients like never before.
The discovery, published in the journal Aging, demonstrates through MRI scans and memory tests, a dramatic 10-month improvement thanks to lifestyle changes and drug therapy. Researchers said although the “magnitude of improvement is unprecedented” they still need to carry out further testing on a larger number of patients.