Irish scientists claim to be able to slow Alzheimer's disease

Irish scientists claim to be able to slow Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimers disease is the largest public health crisis we face and drug companies have so far fallen at every hurdle in finding a solution.”.

Despite decades of research, scientists have made little progress in halting Alzheimer's disease, a form of dementia. This new study, he explained showed -V6 and HHV-7 viral genes within the brains of persons with Alzheimer's after they had died. Now, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Banner Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the Arizona State University, in Temple, USA, Alzheimer's disease could have a viral origin. They found that numerous genes that clicked on during Alzheimer's are the same genes that activate when the body is fighting a virus.

Using DNA and RNA sequencing data from 622 brain donors who had clinical disease and 322 who did not, the groups looked for inherited genes and those that are preferentially turned on or off in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.

In a study published on June 21 in the journal Neuron, researchers say they've found strong evidence to suggest that two strains of the human herpes virus - 6A and 7 - may contribute to the disease that robs people of their memory and cognitive functions.

"With an illness this awful, we can not afford to dismiss all scientific possibilities", said Dr. John Morris, who directs the Alzheimer's research center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. But it is possible that the viruses worsen the disease's symptoms. "I think they're like gas on the flames of some pathology that may be immune-driven".


Readhead says around 90 percent of children in the USA and the United Kingdom are exposed to these viruses in the first few years of life.The findings don't prove the viruses cause Alzheimer's, nor do they suggest it's contagious.

Using different computational approaches, the team uncovered a complex network of unexpected associations, linking specific viruses with different aspects of Alzheimer's biology.

The study also fits with mounting evidence that how aggressively the brain's immune system defends itself against viruses or other germs may be riskier than an actual infection, said Alzheimer's specialist Dr. Rudolph Tanzi of Massachusetts General Hospital. Researchers have been down this road before. While this discovery surprised the researchers, they continued to follow the path and what they learned was that the genes were "two incredibly common and closely related herpesviruses that are known to cause childhood rashes and fevers", and they are so common that nearly everyone has them.

Dr. Miroslaw Mackiewicz of NIH's National Institute on Aging believes that the study can help scientists find new ways of preventing and treating the disease. That's unlikely to be the end of the story.

Further research is needed to understand why Alzheimer's disease patients have more of the herpes viruses in their brains, and if these viruses even play a part in the onset or progression of the disease.

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