Have researchers finally uncovered the cause of Alzheimer's disease?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Previously overlooked brain finding could be Alzheimer's breakthrough.

University of Montreal researchers have made what they describe as a breakthrough discovery that could finally provide drugs that treat and possibly prevent Alzheimer's disease. The new finding that had been previously overlooked suggests fatty deposits in the brain may be the cause of Alzheimer's disease that affects 47.5 million people worldwide.

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The finding, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, means new drugs could be developed to treat and possibly cure Alzheimer's disease.

Karl Fernandes, a researcher at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM)and a professor at University of Montreal and his team have discovered the nature of the type of fat droplets found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients that they say could be a missing link in the fight against the disease.

Fat in the brain could be the cause of Alzheimer's disease

The team examined the brains of nine deceased people with Alzheimer's disease and compared their finding with healthy individuals. They discovered the fat droplets were identified as oleic acid-enriched triglycerides that are specific fatty acids that are found in animals fat and vegetable oils.

"We discovered that these fatty acids are produced by the brain, that they build up slowly with normal aging, but that the process is accelerated significantly in the presence of genes that predispose to Alzheimer's disease", explained Fernandes.

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Fernandes and his team found mice engineered to develop the disease begin accumulating the type of fat at an early age.

'In mice predisposed to the disease, we showed that these fatty acids accumulate very early on, at two months of age, which corresponds to the early twenties in humans. Therefore, we think that the build-up of fatty acids is not a consequence but rather a cause or accelerator of the disease."

The net step is to test medications that are now being tested to treat obesity that inhibit the enzyme that produces the fatty acids to find out if they will stop Alzheimer's disease symptoms or prevent the disease altogether.

Citation:

"Aberrant Lipid Metabolism in the Forebrain Niche Suppresses Adult Neural Stem Cell Proliferation in an Animal Model of Alzheimer’s Disease"
Laura K. Hamilton, Martin Dufresne, Sandra E. Joppé, Sarah Petryszyn, Anne Aumont, Frédéric Calon, Fanie Barnabé-Heider, Alexandra Furtos, Martin Parent, Pierre Chaurand, Karl J.L. Fernandes
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2015.08.001

Related:

Alzheimer's, diabetes connection
Could a low protein diet stop Alzheimer's disease?
The 30-second Alzheimer's test

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Comments

Many of those in the alternative health field believe (after testing) that allergies to specific foods are the underlying cause of this health problem. Food allergies can create emotional, behavioral and mental symptoms such as panic attacks, compulsive behavior, depression, psychotic episodes, or hallucinations, and may also contribute to many less severe mental and emotional symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, inability to concentrate, or feelings of being in a mental "fog". In April of 2003, a scientific study indicated that there may be a connection between Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and how the two diseases progress over time. There seems to be a connection between gluten and dairy allergies or intolerance and the onset of Mental health problems. One theory is that the gliadorphin (also known as gluteomorphin) molecule from gluten can affect brain function. It is similar to the casomorphin peptide, which is why some doctors will mention gluten and dairy in the same breath. The latter one is responsible for ADD and ADHD according to Dr Robert Cade et all. It would not stress the imagination too much to assume it could also affect Alzheimer and Parkinson sufferers. Diet may play an important role in the etiology of Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s disease, either by altering the oxidative balance in the brain or by serving as a vehicle for environmental neurotoxins. Honglei Chen, Eilis O’Reilly, Marjorie L. McCullough, Carmen Rodriguez, Michael A. Schwarzschild, Eugenia E. Calle, Michael J. Thun, and Alberto Ascherio, in their study found dairy product consumption was positively associated with risk of Parkinson’s disease. Their study and finding were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology Vol. 165, No. 9 DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwk089 Advance Access publication January 31, 2007. Another, independent study published a few months later in the same American Journal of Epidemiology found that among more than 130,000 U.S. adults followed for 9 years, those who ate the largest amount of dairy foods had an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Since Parkinson's and Alzheimer have a common causal factor avoidance of dairy may be beneficial.