Alzheimer’s has haunted doctors for years. This horrible disease has stripped millions of people of their dignity. Doctors around the world work tirelessly, hoping to find a cure for this disease. It appears a new clue has been found. The University of Southampton recently published an article that gives new insight into this deadly disease.
For years, doctors struggled to understand the root causes of Alzheimer’s. Many factors might play a role, including diet, exercise, and genetics. Researchers in Southampton searched for a new angle. They decided to see what impact the immune system has on Alzheimer’s.
The team at Southampton spent years researching the brain tissue of healthy people and those with dementia. Through their research, they noticed several differences between the two populations. One key difference they noticed was the number of microglia found in each sample.
Microglia is a type of cell that regulates immune responses. One immune response that the research team found interesting was inflammation. The team hypothesized that high numbers of microglia could lead to excessive inflammation. The team studied this theory for several years, and ultimately concluded that too many microglia cells could lead to Alzheimer’s in the future.
Once the team knew microglia play a role in Alzheimer’s they made it their mission to find the solution. They performed a study on mice who were meant to develop signs of Alzheimer’s. Over time, the team discovered a key protein led to increased number of microglia cells. This key protein, known as CSF1 could be blocked with the right treatment. The group discovered an oral inhibitor that lowered the amount of CSF1. Mice that were treated with this inhibitor saw a decrease in microglia cells and lost communication links between cells at a lower rate.
While inflammation in the brain is just one cause of Alzheimer’s this research brings new hope to the research community. There is some hope that at-risk patients could take an inhibitor that would prevent some signs of Alzheimer’s. Hopefully, more good healthcare news comes in the next year.
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