Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain condition that causes aging people to slowly lose cognitive function. There is a decent amount of information about the later stages of Alzheimer’s, but little is known about what causes the disease in the first place. A collaboration between scientists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University and the King’s College London were finally able to discover more about the possible trigger for Alzheimer’s disease, much to the excitement of Alzheimer’s caregivers in Cincinnati.
Scientists Research the Role of Amyloids
Beta-amyloid peptides are proteins that typically protect the brain cells. When these proteins are not needed, the body naturally divides them into tinier structures that are removed from the brain. However, in seniors with Alzheimer’s, previous medical research has revealed that these proteins end up grouping together in clusters called amyloid plaques that coat the brain and prevent proper neuron function. Vladimir Polshakov, the leading researcher, decided to examine these peptides to see why they stick together and cause problems for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Study Links Zinc to Amyloid Plaque Formation
While examining the function of beta-amyloid peptides in the brain, researchers realized that they were able to bind to metal ions. They discovered that an isomerized form of the peptide would quickly bind into the amyloid plaques that are a sign of Alzheimer’s if they were exposed to zinc ions. It is significant to note that peptides become isomerized with age, explaining the possible reason why Alzheimer’s typically affects seniors.
The Significance of These Discoveries
This is the first medical study to determine why normally protective peptide proteins suddenly clump together and harm brain cells among elderly people. The researchers hope that their discovery will lead to more research that finds a way to block zinc ions from triggering the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain.
While this discovery is groundbreaking, there is still a lot of research to be done. In the meantime, seniors with Alzheimer’s have other resources at their disposal. Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati is a leading Cincinnati at-home care provider that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia services. Our expertly trained caregivers promote wellbeing by offering cognitive stimulation and emotional support to seniors in our care while helping them with everyday tasks including personal care, mobility assistance, safety monitoring, and more. Call 513.891.2273 today to learn more about our services and schedule a free consultation.