Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention, Treatment Tips
Alzheimer’s disease causes an unnatural accumulation of amyloid plaque formations around nerve synapses that block the transmission of electrical and chemical transmitters that allow the brain to retain a high level of cognitive function and to store and retain memories.
Millions of people around the world suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, as the illness continues to escalate at an epidemic rate. It is projected that the prevalence will nearly quadruple in the next 50 years, by which time approximately one in 45 Americans will be afflicted with the disease.
The past decade has uncovered a small handful of natural, bioactive compounds that easily cross the blood-brain barrier where they have been found to alter the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from the University of Leeds in the UK have determined that natural chemicals found in green tea and red wine may disrupt a key step of the Alzheimer’s disease pathway.
Publishing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, scientists have identified the process that allows harmful clumps of protein to latch onto brain cells, causing them to die.
Green tea and red wine extracts impede amyloid formation to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists understand that amyloid proteins in the brain clump together to form toxic, sticky balls of varying shapes. These amyloid balls latch onto the surface of nerve cells in the brain by attaching to proteins on the cell surface called prions, ultimately causing nerve cells to malfunction and die. Study co-author Dr. Jo Rushworth commented, “We wanted to investigate whether the precise shape of the amyloid balls is essential for them to attach to the prion receptors, like the way a baseball fits snugly into its glove.”
The team wanted to determine if it was possible to prevent the amyloid balls from binding to prions by manipulating their shape and stop the cells from dying. Scientists formed amyloid balls in a test tube and then added them to human and animal brain cells. Study authors concluded, “when we added the extracts from red wine and green tea, which recent research has shown to re-shape amyloid proteins, the amyloid balls no longer harmed the nerve cells.”