Avoiding Brain Inflammation May Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
A UK-based study led by research experts from the University of Southampton discovered new evidence linking brain inflammation to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
According to Medical News Today, the study which is due to appear in the medical journal Brain suggests blocking a protein responsible for inflammation of the brain as a feasible way of treating the neurodegenerative disease that has already affected 47.5 million people across the globe with as many as 7.7 million new cases reported each year.
The study involved a careful examination of brains of dead human patients and lab mice. The scientists explained that brain inflammation is largely due to a build-up of immune cells known as microglia.
"These findings are as close to evidence as we can get to show that this particular pathway is active in the development of Alzheimer's. The next step is to work closely with our partners in industry to find a safe and suitable drug that can be tested to see if it works in humans," exclaimed lead author Diego Gomez-Nicola as quoted saying by Independent.
In their lab experiments, the researchers applied a drug on mice to block a receptor protein linked to microglia build-up in the mice's brains. After the mice were given medicine, they exhibited fewer memory loss and other behavioral problems associated with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia.
The new findings are bound to stir the interests of many neuroscience experts around the world.
"While this basic science research provides strong evidence, the challenge will now be to develop medicines for people with dementia, so we await the development of clinical treatments with interest. Too often, this has been the stumbling block in turning observations in the laboratory into a workable therapy," commented Dr. Mark Dallas of the University of Reading as mentioned by BBC News.
Dementia is neurodegenerative disease that severely impairs memory, cognitive skills, and normal behavior. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% to 70% of all cases of dementia.