New Alzheimer’s Research Indicates Brain Connections Degrade Early On

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New research from a team at the University of New South Wales School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences—led by professor Vladimir Sytnyk—has revealed brain connections suffer in the early progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.

According to Dr. Sytnyk, “Synapses are required for all brain functions, and particularly for learning and forming memories. In Alzheimer’s disease, this loss of synapses occurs very early on, when people still only have mild cognitive impairment, and long before the nerve cells themselves die.”

The study authors also tell, “Our research shows the loss of synapses is linked to the loss of NCAM2 as a result of the toxic effects of beta-amyloid. It opens up a new avenue for research on possible treatments that can prevent the destruction of NCAM2 in the brain.”

Additionally, Dr Emma O’Brien, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, comments: “Everything we do, say or think is the result of signals sent between nerve cells in the brain. In Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cell communication points begin to break down, leading to symptoms like confusion and memory loss.”
AlzheimersDr. O’Brien goes on to say, “This study sheds light on one of the molecular chain of events that could be driving the loss of nerve cell communication points in Alzheimer’s, but it is too soon to conclude whether this could be targeted to develop new treatments or to improve diagnosis.We have identified a new molecular mechanism which directly contributes to this synapse loss – a discovery we hope could eventually lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease and new treatments.”

First discovered in 1906 Alzheimer’s Disease, of course, has come to be known as an aging disease, although recent research suggests that the disease can start very early in life, only to show evidence of cognitive decline much later in life.

Symptoms of the disease include memory loss and unpredictable behavior.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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