Advanced concepts regarding the development of Alzheimer’s disease include the notion that an inflammatory process underlies the progression of the disease.
Newly published research presented in the scientific journal Nature investigated the role of the brain’s immune response in the progression of abnormal protein accumulations in the brain. Prof. Michael Heneka, of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases says that his study demonstrated the role of activated immune cells in the brain. These cells called “microglia” promoted aggregation of the abnormal protein Abeta, a classic hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, “…directly linking innate immune activation with the progression of pathology,” Dr. Heneka explains. “Deposition and spreading of Abeta pathology likely precede the appearance of clinical symptoms such as memory problems by decades. Therefore, a better understanding of these processes might be a key for novel therapeutic approaches. Such treatments would target Alzheimer’s at an early stage, before cognitive deficits manifest. Additionally, analysis of human brain material indicates at several levels that inflammation and Abeta pathology may interact in a similar fashion in humans. Together our findings suggest that brain inflammation is not just a bystander phenomenon, but a strong contributor to disease progression. Therefore, targeting this immune response will be a novel treatment modality for Alzheimer’s.”
The scourge of Alzheimer’s disease in the ever expanding elderly population needs more research and action to improve current treatment options. This study ads to our understanding of the promoters of this condition, which seems to require a number of different modalities – nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and other factors to be taken into account, to slow, halt or hopefully even reverse the course of this disease.