Alzheimer’s Discovery

The cause for Alzheimer’s dementia is unknown. The prevailing theory is that brain plaques and tangles (made up of protein fragments) cause Alzheimer’s. However, not all people who have the plaques and tangles develop the disease. Evidence of this damage is only one component of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside are making significant progress. The Journal of Proteome Research published their study. That is good news for millions of Americans. These researchers uncovered a reason why some people with protein plaques and tangles in their brains do not develop Alzheimer’s disease.

“Roughly 20% of people have the plaques, but no signs of dementia,” study lead Ryan Julian, Ph.D., said. “This makes it seem as though the plaques themselves are not the cause.”

One theory is that Alzheimer’s may be caused by brain cells’ slowing ability to do proper clean-up contributing to the eventual development of dementia and dementia symptoms. The process of clearing defective proteins from cells is known as autophagy. This slows down in people over the age of 65. Exercise increases autophagy. Isolating the cause will help figure out a cure.