Breakthrough: A cure for Alzheimer’s?

Breakthrough: A cure for Alzheimer’s?

A tremendous new discovery could have huge implications for Alzheimer's research.

A groundbreaking new discovery by scientists in Australia could pave the way to a cure for Alzheimer’s.

A research team led by Dr. Vladimir Sytnyk of the University of New South Wales found out how the disease destroys connections in the brain, which leads to some of the early signs of the degenerative brain disease in patients such as memory loss and an inability to learn, according to a Financial Express report.

The researchers found a new molecular mechanism directly tied to the loss of synapses, which connect the neurons in the brain and are necessary for all brain functions — especially when it comes to memories and learning.

This breakthrough could allow doctors to understand the disease better, meaning better treatments could be in the future, and it could be easier for doctors to spot the disease in its early stages and have a better change of heading it off at the pass.

Specifically, the team focused on a protein in the brain called neural cell adhesian molecule 2 (NCAM2), finding that levels of NCAM2 in the hippocampus — the elongated ridges at the floor of the lateral ventricles within the brain believed to be responsible for emotion and memory — were much lower in those who had Alzheimer’s.

Defeating Alzheimer’s is a major focus in medicine, as it accounts for up to 70 percent of all cases of dementia. The neurodegenerative disease begins with mild symptoms, like short-term memory loss, before slowly getting worse to the point that symptoms become quite severe, with long term memory loss and the inability to learn and use language. It can later result in violent mood swings, behavioral problems, and disorientation.

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