When it comes to Alzheimer’s research, a potential cure is on everyone’s mind.
Although there has been process in terms of understanding the disease, Alzheimer’s is still uncurable — but this may soon change.
The FDA has not approved a new Alzheimer’s medication since 2003, which is why the latest research is so exciting. From dietary supplements to behavioral interventions, various strategies are being explored.
In fact, researchers recently published some hopeful news. A new Alzheimer’s drug restored memory and function in mice.
Study Finds — Alzheimer’s Treatment Improved Brain Function in High-Risk Mice
The true cause of Alzheimer’s is still unknown. This has hindered the progress of research, but it has also allowed scientists to explore various avenues. Since the accumulation of amyloid-beta is a key area of interest, a range of medications are being tested.
Currently, more than 400 clinical trials are exploring new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The majority of these studies are focusing on the effects of amyloid-beta, but globally, researchers are also exploring a wide range of theories.
Recently, the compound known as anle138b made headlines. Just this week, an encouraging study was published in EMBO Molecular Medicine. This drug was blocked amyloid-beta channels, improving brain function among at-risk mice.
Here is a summary of the study:
- At-risk mice were given anle138b. Administered orally, this compound is a practical and easy treatment option. Toxicology studies are currently being performed to further test anle138b on humans.
- Showcasing abnormal symptoms, including declining memory and high levels of protein, this drug restored brain function in mice. More specifically, this compound restored transcriptional and hippocampal synaptic plasticity, as well as spatial memory.
- This drug blocks amyloid-beta channels. These channels are caused by amyloid-beta peptides, resulting in memory impairment and a loss of cellular homeostasis.
More on the Amyloid Hypothesis
The role of amyloid-beta in the development of Alzheimer’s has long been a key area of interest. Based on this hypothesis, the amyloid precursor protein is damaged by enzymes, resulting in a protein fragment — also known as amyloid-beta.
As this fragmented protein circulates through the blood and cerebrospinal fluid, it negatively affects nerve cells. As these fragments begin to clump together, amyloid plaques form — a key characteristic of Alzheimer’s. New discoveries have led to new theories, influencing the testing of various medications.
According to the amyloid hypothesis, as amyloid-beta begins to clump, cellular communication is disrupted. This leads to the activation of immune cells, which trigger inflammation. As a result, brain cells are destroyed. Based on this hypothesis, strategies include:
- Decreasing the production of amyloid-beta.
- Preventing the formation of amyloid plaques.
- Increasing beta-amyloid removal.
Nutrition and Alzheimer’s Prevention
In relation to Alzheimer’s, or any disease for that matter, prevention is key.
Although there are a range of Alzheimer’s theories currently being explored, it is important to address potential environmental causes. This includes dietary modification.
The research has shown that a nutritional approach may prevent, slow, or even halt the progression of this degenerative disease. The advantage to this approach is that it is easy to implement, is cost-effective, and generally safe. From targeting oxidative stress to chronic inflammation, many nutritional strategies have been studied, including the effects of:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- B-vitamins and folate
- Medium chain triglycerides
While studying Mediterranean populations, especially those from Naples and the surrounding areas of Italy, it has been found that these people have the highest life expectancy and lower rates of Alzheimer’s.
Consuming generous servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seed and beans; low to moderate amounts of poultry, dairy, and fish; and low amounts of red meat, this diet reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, while regenerating cellular health.
So, if you’re wondering what YOU can do to reduce your risk — begin with your diet. Taking baby steps is the most proactive approach. As you learn to move away from processed foods, you can focus on strategies such as the 80:20 rule.
This rule encourages you to consume nutrient-dense whole foods 80 percent of the time, allowing you to enjoy your favorite treats 20 percent of the time. Gradually change your daily eating habits to develop a healthy, more sustainable dietary routine.
As you begin to clean up your diet, your overall health will reflect these changes — including your neural well-being.