A CT scan or MRI can reveal some signs of the disease in minutes, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have Alzheimer’s.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is trying to change that by studying the brains of patients with the disease.
The first of the study, led by the University of Utah, is part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics and Clinical Trials Program (ADGCR).
This is the group of scientists who are trying to understand how the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s develops, says Dr. Brian Hovland, a professor of neurology at the University at Buffalo.
“The goal is to determine how the changes that happen in the brain can affect the disease process,” he says.
“So, if we can find the changes in the genes that are causing these changes, we can predict when someone is likely to have the disease.”
The researchers found that the gene involved in Alzheimers disease is a protein known as amyloid-beta (Aβ), and they were able to pinpoint the changes happening in the brains’ cells.
Aβ has been linked to Alzheimer’s, and it is linked to the development of amylotrophs (the cells that make up cells in the body) and the storage of the toxic protein in the cells.
Hovlan says that Aβ is linked directly to Alzheimer to cause the disease by triggering a cascade of events that trigger changes in how the body’s cells make proteins.
“When these proteins are degraded, they produce toxins that can cause Alzheimer’s disease,” Hovlays says.
“We know that the proteins are produced by the amyloids and they then can bind to the amine receptor in the cell, which in turn can cause the amloids to bind to different proteins, which can in turn cause the cell to become more susceptible to Alzheimer.”
In other words, when the cells in your body become more resistant to Aβ, the Aβ becomes more abundant in the neurons, increasing the risk of developing the disease, he says