Brain compounds to be used in 'treatment' of Alzheimer's
21 August 2008 00:00 in Industry related health news
New research has suggested that compounds which interact with a protein in the brain could be used in the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Scientists found that the compounds interact in three specific ways with the tau protein, commonly cited as a principle factor in the causes and progression of dementia.
Normally, the tau protein binds to and stabilises structures in the brain. But when it breaks away from the brain structures it can begin to form filaments which can clump together to form tangles, a marker of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
The compounds can produce three different outcomes when introduced to the tau protein. They either: bind to the protein filaments; inhibit the filaments from developing; or cause tau protein to form filaments.
The production of all three will increase scientists' understanding of the neurodegenerative disease process, according to Nicolette Honson, from Ohio State university.
"It's important now to find compounds that can be used in imaging because the earlier clinicians can detect the disease, the better the chances are that a drug will halt disease progression while patients still have strong cognitive abilities," she said.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia among older people. There is currently no known cure and the cause is still a mystery to scientists.
According to the National Institute on Aging, there are an estimated 4.5 million suffers in the US.
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Story collated for Zenopa by the Adfero News Agency