The Alzheimer’s hieroglyph: in search of the Rosetta stone

And this is so because it is a very complex disease caused by an interaction of genetic, environmental and habit factors, which usually develop throughout life and cause changes in the brain that cannot be detected in advance.

At the Spanish Alzheimer’s Confederation CEAFA they are aware of the challenge, but insist on the importance of continuing to research the “entire route” of Alzheimer’s, from before the first symptoms to grief.

Yes, biomedical research, but also social and socio-health research, they are defending today on the occasion of World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21.

Under the motto “ResearchAction. On the Dementia Itinerary“, its president Mariló Almagro explains to EFEsalut the need for awareness, prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and bereavement to be taken into account and adapted throughout the dementia journeyso each one needs a specific type of treatment”.

CEAFA wants to take advantage of World Alzheimer’s Day 2022 to remember that only with the commitment of the whole of society can the situation be significantly improved.

In the video edited on the occasion of this day, they also ask for the generation of synergies and feedback between the different types of research and for the voice and opinion of patients to be incorporated in biomedical research processes.

The Alzheimer’s hieroglyph: in search of the Rosetta stone

In addition, they claim the need to raise awareness in society about research as well as facilitate access to knowledge about this disease, since Spain is one of the countries with the most scientific publications in search of the Rosetta Stone that approximates the Alzheimer’s hieroglyph.

The Spanish Registry of Clinical Trials now includes more than a hundred studies for this pathology in Spanish centers.

According to Farmaindustria, the dedication of the innovative pharmaceutical industry to find a cure is firm, although the success rate is 2%.

One of the latest researchled by a team of CSIC researchers has shown that one protein called LRP3little known, it controls beta amyloid levels, the protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, forming the plaques that characterize this disease.

This protein could be a new therapeutic target and a hitherto unexplored avenue of research in Alzheimer’s.

In this race to solve the Alzheimer’s hieroglyph, CIMA researchers from the University of Navarre have published research reporting that there is a new potential therapeutic target: la PLA2G4E protein that could make us “resilient” to presenting this disease.

High levels of this enzyme point to it as a protective factor in the prevention of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s.

In this project, the objective is to decipher the factors responsible for this resilience.

In the brains of people affected by Alzheimer’s dementia abnormal deposits of two proteins have been identified that form aggregates and inclusions, disrupting brain architecture. These proteins are called beta-amyloid and tau protein.

There are numerous ongoing investigations, such as the one carried out by Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC)research center of the Pasqual Maragall Foundationin collaboration with ISGlobal.

Its researchers have detected that exposure to the air pollution would be linked to higher levels of Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers, especially in people with beta-amyloid accumulation in the brain.

In line with what recent studies show, the research points out that small suspended particles and polluting gases found in the atmosphere, mainly from traffic, would play a role as environmental factors in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s: neurons, cells, proteins…

According to the NIH National Institute of Aging (US) in healthy people, all sensations, movements, thoughts, memories and feelings are the result of signals passing through billions of nerve cells in the brain, i.e. neurons.

Neurons constantly communicate with each other via electrical charges that travel along axons, causing the release of chemicals that cross small gaps in neighboring neurons.

Other cells in the brain, such as astrocytes and microglia, remove debris and help keep neurons healthy.

In a person with Alzheimer’s, toxic changes in the brain destroy this healthy balance.

As we mentioned earlier, this process involves two proteins called beta-amyloid and tau, which somehow become toxic to the brain.

It seems that the tau protein abnormal accumulates and over time forms buds inside the neurons.

And the beta-amyloids they are grouped into plaques, which slowly build up between neurons.

As the level of amyloid reaches a critical point, there is a rapid spread of tau throughout the brain.

But according to the source, tau and beta-amyloid proteins may not be the only factors affecting Alzheimer’s disease.

Over time, and according to the same sources, other changes affecting the brain may also play a role. The vascular system may not send enough blood and nutrients to the brain.

the brain may lack the necessary glucose to boost its activity.

Chronic inflammation is established when the microglial cells they cannot clear debris and astrocytes react to the disrupted microglia.

Eventually, the neurons lose their ability to communicate. As neurons die, the brain shrinks, starting in the hippocampus, a part of the brain important for learning and memory.

People may begin to experience memory loss, difficulty making decisions, and language problems.

As more neurons die throughout the brain, a person with Alzheimer’s gradually loses the ability to think, remember, make decisions, and function independently.

And in this effort to unravel the hieroglyph that is Alzheimer’s, from the NIH they conclude that it is essential to achieve a deeper understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms, and how they can interact, to be able to develop effective therapies.

And they claim that much progress has been made in identifying several underlying factors.

alzheimer hieroglyph
PHOTO EFE

So the advances in brain imaging they allow us to see the evolution of plaques and buds in the living brain.

The biomarkers in blood and in liquid they offer insights into when the disease starts and how it progresses.

It also knows more about the genetic bases of the disease and how they may affect some particular biological pathways.

In this challenge to decipher the hieroglyph of Alzheimer’s, the NIH maintains that research is advancing rapidly, and they believe that we are approaching the day when we can delay, or even prevent, the devastation caused by dementia.

However, no researcher dares to put a date.

There are an estimated 46.8 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

In Spain, and according to CEAFA, around 40,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s are diagnosed each year, the main cause of dementia and disability in elderly people worldwide.

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