Category Archives: Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s & Glucose: Reducing Sugar Intake

While scientists have long known that excess glucose—or sugar—and its breakdown products have the potential to damage proteins and cells through a reaction called ‘glycation,’ the specific molecular link between sugar and Alzheimer’s disease was neither confirmed nor fully understood.

Yet scientists have recently confirmed a ‘tipping point’ molecular link between the blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer’s disease, as a study published in the journal Scientific Reports has demonstrated that excess glucose irreparably damages a critical enzyme is involved with inflammation response to the early stages ofAlzheimer’s.

Unusually high blood sugar levels, also called hyperglycemia, is a familiar characteristic of diabetes and obesity; indeed, patients with diabetes have been shown to have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to healthy individuals. In the early stages of the disease, abnormal proteins aggregate to form ‘plaques and tangles’ in the brain, which progressively lead to severe cognitive decline.

By utilizing a sensitive technique to detect glycation through brain samples of people both with and without Alzheimer’s, a team of scientists discovered that—in the early stages of Alzheimer’s—glycation damages an enzyme called MIF (macropage migration inhibitory factor), which ultimately plays a role in immune response and insulin regulation. This enzyme is involved in the response of brain cells to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain during Alzheimer’s, and researchers believe that inhibition and reduction of MIF activity—caused by glycation—could be the proverbial ‘tipping point’ in disease progression. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, so too does glycation of these enzymes increase.

Researchers articulate that this knowledge will be vital in developing a chronological trajectory of the progression of Alzheimer’s, and will assist in identifying those at risk, in addition to new preventive techniques and treatments. Moreover, this potential link with Alzheimer’s serves as another reason to curb and lower sugar intake.

Mark Rosenberg, MD, FMNM, a physician who has extensively studied the mechanisms of cancer treatment failure, and developed new preventive therapies, states: “Glucose or sugar, is a source of fuel for normal cells and malignant cells. The more resistant and aggressive cancer cells tend to rely on the metabolism of glucose through a process called glycolysis. These cells over-express GLUT-1 transporters, as well as insulin, to pull in as much sugar, as quickly as they can, so they can meet their energy requirements. There are multiple studies correlating elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance, and diabetes with the risk, as well as survival, for many cancers. Bottom line, from a cancer perspective: minimize sugar intake.”

Around 50 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a statistical figure predicted to rise to more than 125 million by2050. Researchers believe that the global cost of the disease will likely escalate into the hundreds of billions of dollars, as medical patients require further social and palliative care, due to the debilitating cognitive effects of the disease.

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Combatting Alzheimer’s: Continued

At A4M, our mission is to spread awareness regarding the need for research, funding, and further education in order to prevent age-related diseases. This will not be the last you hear from us concerning Alzheimer’s, as it is a topic that both deserves and requires a significant amount of attention.

Alzheimer’s disease currently affects more than five million Americans, a number that could potentially skyrocket to 16 million in the next three decades. Not only is Alzheimer’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the country, but it also leads to tremendous financial and emotional instabilities, in addition to extensive family strain and stress.

The cognitive losses that accompany Alzheimer’s disease are, at first blush, signs of normal aging: forgetfulness, disorientation, and impairments in functioning that lead to one’s inability to perform basic, rudimentary tasks. Yet these symptoms are merely the tip of the iceberg: depression, anxiety, aggression, and a detachment from reality are some of the emotional and behavioral problems that stem from Alzheimer’s.

Within the past week, the first drug designed to acutely treat Alzheimer’s failed to show significant benefit for those with mild forms of the disease. The drug, Solanezumab, is among the first of a new array of treatments designed to address and diagnose the disorder at its root cause, rather than merely alleviating symptoms. Had the pharmaceutical been successful, it would have been the first form of therapy that slowed the disease’s progression.

While the past two decades have incontrovertibly seen significant advances in our understanding of the disease, there is still no cure. Continued and increased funding in research is critically necessary, as most scientists and doctors believe that early detection is the primary way in which to stop the disease’s progression—or even ultimately cure it.

To become further involved with research, funding, or learn more about ways to prevent aging-related diseases, take a look at what being an A4M member means.  Enhancing health is always our top priority, and we believe if you are reading this, it is also yours.

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10 Proteins Top Alzheimer’s Biomarkers

Often, the biological processes of Alzheimer’s Disease begin many years prior to the display of symptoms, making the pursuit of predictive diagnostics a paramount effort.  Simon Lovestone, from King’s College London (United Kingdom), and colleagues analyzed blood samples from 1,148 people: 476 with Alzheimer’s, 220 with mild cognitive impairment and 452 elderly controls without dementia. The researchers honed in on 26 proteins previously found to be linked with Alzheimer’s Disease, and found that 16 of the  proteins were strongly associated with brain shrinkage in either mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s.  The team then ran a second series of tests to see which of these could predict which patients would progress from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s; they identified a combination of 10 proteins capable of predicting with 87% accuracy whether people with mild cognitive impairment would develop Alzheimer’s disease within a year.  Writing that: “We have identified 10 plasma proteins strongly associated with [Alzheimer’s] disease severity and disease progression,” the study authors submit that:  “Such markers may be useful for patient selection for clinical trials and assessment of patients with predisease subjective memory complaints.”  For the news source visit: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/07/08/us-health-alzheimers-idUKKBN0FC2IC20140708

Hye A, Riddoch-Contreras J, Baird AL, Ashton NJ, Bazenet C, Lovestone S, et al.  “Plasma proteins predict conversion to dementia from prodromal disease.”  Alzheimers Dement. 2014 Jul 3.

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