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Filed under Innovation

New development for Alzheimer’s

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We all get sick at one point, whether we want to or not. And as people get older, they become more susceptible to diseases because their immune system is not as active as it once was. One more common diseases associated with older people is Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is a “progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions,” says Mayo Clinic. It is a common disease and more than 3 million people get it every year with majority of the affected people being over 60 years old. One of the worst things about it is that it cannot be cured. But recent studies have found that Alzheimer’s spreads like a virus in the brain.

For a long time, researchers have known that “dying, tau-filled cells first emerge in a small area of the brain where memories are made and stored,” says the New York Times. These tau-filled cells then move onto other parts of the brain that are responsible for remembering and reasoning.

This new discovery has provided an answer, it seems, for the development of Alzheimer’s and even Parkinson’s disease. “They indicate it may be possible to bring Alzheimer’s disease to an abrupt halt early on by preventing cell-to-cell transmission, perhaps with an antibody that blocks tau,” says the New York Times.

Dr. Karen Duff from the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center said, “Looking at the brains of people who have died of the disease […] is like looking at a wrecked car and trying to figure out the accident’s cause. Faulty brakes? Broken struts?”

Clinical neurologist Thomas Cope indicates that the recent findings have implications for clinical care. The hope is that “drugs can be developed that attack tau in synapses, outside of cells, locking it up inside affected cells early, before it can spread.”

This new development could improve the lives of many people and families, and in the future it could possibly even mean that the cure for Alzheimer’s could be found.

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New development for Alzheimer’s