By Press Release @bactiman63
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive memory disorder that affects nearly one in three seniors and is on the rise, currently affecting 43 million people worldwide.
Behind the memory impairments, there is a perfect storm of destruction in the brain, stemming in part from accumulations of a protein called tau. Normally a stabilizing structure inside of neurons, tau can accumulate in long tangles that disrupt the ability of neurons to communicate with one another.
University of New Mexico researchers have developed a vaccine that could prevent the formation of the tau tangles and potentially prevent the cognitive decline typically seen in Alzheimer’s patients.
In a paper published earlier this month in NPJ Vaccines, the team reported it had engineered a vaccine using virus-like particles (VLPs, for short) that eliminated the tau tangles in mice that had been bred to develop symptoms like those affecting human Alzheimer’s patients.
“We’re excited by these findings, because they seem to suggest that we can use the body’s own immune system to make antibodies against these tangles, and that these antibodies actually bind and clear these tau tangles,” said Nicole Maphis, a PhD candidate in UNM’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.
Maphis, working in the lab of Kiran Bhaskar, PhD, an associate professor in UNM’s Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, found that when the vaccine was given to mice, they developed antibodies that cleared the tau protein from their brains – and the response lasted for months.
Read more at the University of New Mexico
Blood pressure drug
Seeking new treatments to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers found the blood pressure drug nilvadipine increased blood flow to the brain’s memory and learning center among people with Alzheimer’s disease without affecting other parts of the brain, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.
These findings indicate that the known decrease in cerebral blood flow in patients with Alzheimer’s can be reversed in some regions. However, an important question is whether this observed increase in cerebral blood flow translates to clinical benefits, the authors note.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. The risk for the disease increases with age and the causes are largely unknown. Previous research has shown that blood flow to the brain declines in early Alzheimer’s disease.
Nilvadipine is a calcium channel blocker used to treat high blood pressure. Researchers sought to discover whether nilvadipine could help treat Alzheimer’s disease by comparing the use of nilvadipine and a placebo among people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers randomly assigned 44 participants to receive either nilvadipine or a placebo for six months. Neither researchers nor the participants knew who received the drug or the placebo that was evenly divided among the two groups. At the study’s start and after six months, researchers measured blood flow to specific regions of the brain using a unique magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique.
Read more at American Heart Association
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