Dementia Linked to Deteriorating Neurons
Age-related dementia may begin with neurons’ gradual inability to get rid of unwanted proteins, according to a new study.
Proteins that build up plaque in the brain have been linked to Alzheimer’s. Discovering how neurons eventually become unable to eliminate these could eventually lead to treatment of dementia.
The study, by scientists from two German research facilities, used worm and mouse models that had genetically-determined dementia. With the models, the researchers were able to inactivate the neurons and determine the effect that had on the ability to eliminate the proteins.
Markus Glatzel, M.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Institute of Neuropathology in Hamburg, said in a statement that the discovery laid the groundwork for further research. "This gives us a better understanding as to why dementias affect older persons; the ultimate aim is to use these insights to devise novel therapies to restore the full capacity of protein disposal in aged neurons."
The study was published in the journal Genetics.