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Alzheimer’s Disease Cause Found in Brain Protein Malfunction

  • June 26, 2013
  • RPh on the Go

Scientists have discovered a breakthrough in what causes Alzheimer’s. They have identified a molecule that triggers a chain reaction of protein build up that eventually kills brain cells. Addressing the cause of Alzheimer’s down to the scientific level is the first step toward developing a cure for the disease, enabling medical practitioners to eventually create new therapies and medications for treatment of the disease in all its stages.

This breakthrough is a crucial step toward figuring out what causes neurologically degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s. By addressing what molecular triggers misfire in the brain to increase protein production and endanger brain cells, these scientists have opened up new avenues for developing drugs that target these molecular pathways. When the brain creates proteins and these cells begin to form incorrectly, the end result is neurological degeneration such as Alzheimer’s. These proteins can stick together, forming deposits and plaque like buildup in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The study has shown that the small amounts of protein buildup clump together, this creates a chain reaction which leads to a more widespread formation of new protein clusters throughout the brain. These secondary clusters contain only a small amount of protein molecule, but these toxic oligomers, as they are called, can wreck havoc in the brain due to their ability to spread by interaction with other molecules. The result of this interaction is the death of neurons, memory loss, and eventual dementia in patients.

While employing physics, chemistry, and other scientific means of reasoning, this qualitative study has given medical professionals and science the key to solving the Alzheimer’s puzzle. Knowing how these oligomers are formed and being able to intercept the process is the first step toward creating a world free of Alzheimer’s disease.

Pharmacists can offer literature about living with the disease, coping with the diagnosis of a loved one, or how to navigate medical treatment, prescriptions, and even therapy. Support groups within your local community will often have bountiful literature to display, and can possible offer training to staff on Alzheimer’s awareness. Pharmacists are a vital resource in managing one’s quality of life when living with Alzheimer’s or caring for a loved one who may be affected by the disease. Pharmacists can include daily checklists, routines, and local emergency numbers to help patients or caregivers stay in control of their lives with AD. Often, patients with Alzheimer’s will not pass away from the disease itself, but rather complications such as catching another infection. Pharmacists need to be aware of these potential dangers, and can offer assistance to patients or caregivers on the latest in vaccines to help stay healthy. Creating a home or care environment that enables a person living with Alzheimer’s to lead the best life possible is crucial to patient longevity and ensuring a quality of life that meets the needs of the client in question.

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