Alzheimer’s disease ruins lives
In Alzheimer’s disease, a specific form of dementia, remembering basic information about your own life circumstances can become troublesome, or even impossible. You can find it increasingly difficult to recognise relatives, or remember where you live, or to remember countless other things that you would normally bring quickly and easily to mind. And, unfortunately, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is increasing all the time.
What’s needed is a way to help sufferers to be able to form new memories dependably, or to repair ‘broken’ ones.
Recent research highlights a way to combat the disease
Recent Alzheimer’s research is aimed at just that. Prof. Tapas Kundu and Prof. M Eswaramoorthy have worked out a way to activate an important enzyme in the brain, one that plays an active role in forming memories.
Some years ago, Prof. Kundu designed a molecule that can kick-start the memory building process in the brain, and now, with the help of Alzheimer’s research groups at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, they have come up with a way to deliver that molecule to the brain, exactly where it’s needed.
The idea is to get the molecule to piggy-back on a nano-particle of glucose-based carbon, just one-thousandth the width of a human hair.
Research into mice … for now
Eswaramoorthy and his group are making this happen (in mice, at least) with the help of the nano particle, since it has been seen to cross the blood brain barrier. By attaching the activator molecule to it, the Alzheimer’s researchers managed to effectively reach the brain of mice and activate the acetyltransferase enzymes there.
The process isn’t perfected yet. Prof. Kundu is concerned about the fact that the glucose-based carrier particle can be easily broken down in the body. Further research is needed to try to overcome this problem. Prof. Kundu has joined forces with Dr Anne Laurette Boutillier’s group in Strasbourg to advance the Alzheimer’s research further
The experiments with mice have also shown that the activator molecule actually increases the enzyme activity in the brain that helps build memory, so the prognosis looks good, as long as the delivery system can be perfected.
Dementia in any form, including Alzheimer’s, destroys lives by deconstructing the personality. If a way can be found to revitalise the memory building processes of the brain, maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This Alzheimer’s research is promising, to say the least.
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