The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that over five million Americans suffered from this devastating disease in 2015, and in January of this year, researchers from the UK announced a breakthrough in our understanding of what causes Alzheimer’s.
Researchers at the University of Southampton found more evidence to back up what scientists have suspected for some time: that the development of Alzheimer’s is driven by inflammation in the brain.
Tissue samples from people with healthy brains and from people with Alzheimer’s were analyzed, and the brains of those with Alzheimer’s were found to contain more microglia, which are a special type of immune cell.
In mice bred to develop the characteristics of Alzheimer’s, researchers halted the production of microglia by administering a drug that blocks the receptor that regulates these cells. The mice that were treated showed fewer behavioral and memory problems than those left untreated.
The researchers’ next step is to work with scientists to develop a drug that can be tested on humans. If the new drug is successful, it could potentially halt the development of Alzheimer’s in those diagnosed with it, and it could lead to modes of prevention as well.
Researchers hope that with the findings will come increased funding for Alzheimer’s research, and indeed, the UK government and various charities are increasing their funding commitments in hopes of developing a potential cure for the disease.
If you’ll be in the Lehigh Valley area in October, please join us for the 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. With our help and yours, the Alzheimer’s Association hopes to increase awareness for this disease and raise funds for continued research.
Contact us today to discuss your needs and concerns, and we can help you develop a plan of action that’s right for you and your loved one.