The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that approximately 5.3 million Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, one in three seniors will die from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Such staggering statistics may seem dismal, but there is hope on the horizon with recent research findings.
Researchers from the University of Southampton in England have been working with a chemical that reduces neuroinflammation in the brain. This chemical may help protect against the memory and behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer’s.
How Inflammation Plays a Part in Alzheimer’s
It is theorized that an overactive immune system causes chronic inflammation in the brain. Though researchers are not sure, they suspect that the inflammation is a catalyst for the disease rather than the other way around. Scientists have linked that inflammation to Alzheimer’s in several clinical studies where they have looked at the tissue of a healthy brain versus one afflicted by Alzheimer’s. The brains that suffered from Alzheimer’s showed high levels of immune cells (microglia) and the concentration of these cells were greater as the disease increased in severity thereby suggesting chronic brain inflammation in Alzheimer’s sufferers. The molecules that regulate the number of immune cells clearly became more active as the severity of Alzheimer’s in the brains increased clustering around the amyloid plaques in the brain associated with the disease. The inflammation is believed to not be a result of the Alzheimer’s disease but a key driver of the disease, states a report done by the Huffington Post.
The National Health Service (NHS) reports that mice suffering from symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s experienced improvement when given a drug with the chemical GW2580, which blocked the production of the microglial immune cells that caused brain inflammation. However, the prevalence of amyloid plaques was not diminished. Research in the mice showed an improvement in the cognitive and behavioral symptoms relating to Alzheimer’s when fed GW2580 thereby inhibiting immune cell production and reducing the inflammation within the brain.
Currently, researchers are very hopeful that controlling inflammation in the brain of Alzheimer’s sufferers, through the use of medication, diet and lifestyle changes, has the potential to significantly reduce memory loss caused by the disease, along with a variety of other Alzheimer’s symptoms.
At David York Agency, we understand the fears and challenges that Alzheimer’s disease can bring, not just for the person diagnosed, but for everyone in their life. We hope to provide families with the support and care they need during this particularly difficult time.
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