A team of researchers, led Dr. Simon Drew at the University of Melbourne and Prof Wojciech Bal at the Polish Academy of Sciences, discovered that a smaller size of a protein called beta-amyloid, may act as a sponge that securely binds copper which can produce harmful free radicals when it’s in excess. Researchers have been very interested in studying the role of beta-amyloid in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease as clumps of this protein is present in the brains of people with the disease.
Previous studies have shown that cardiovascular risk factors are associated with cognitive decline. A new study looked at specific risk factors, such as alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity and diabetes, and analyzed three important regions of the brain, including the hippocampus, precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex. Each of these regions play a role in memory retrieval, therefore a decrease in gray matter volume in these areas may be an indicator for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
New research from Iowa State University found a strong link between insulin resistance, which is seen in people who are obese, pre-diabetic or have Type 2 diabetes, and memory loss. Auriel Willette and co-author Barbara Bendin, with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, analyzed brain scans of 150 late middle-aged adults, who were at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but did not display any signs of decline in memory function.
There is ample evidence suggesting that regular exercise may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, but most of the studies were done on healthy individuals. However, new research presented this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington show that physical activity may also benefit those who are currently living with the disease or are on the road to developing it.
On Wednesday, researchers at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington shared current research regarding three experimental drugs that aim to treat Alzheimer’s disease by targeting amyloid, thus preventing the formation of plaques in the brain. The candidate drugs include: