Scientists hope to delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease with new approach

Alzheimer’s disease(AD) could be the most dreaded among the aging people. People suffering from Alzheimer’s slowly lose their sense of smell, memory and vocabulary and as a result may become anxious and aggressive causing stress for the rest of the family members. At present, there is no cure or slowing down treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

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However, there might be hope now for the patients, if the new technology developed by Prof. Beka Solomon, a Tel Aviv University researcher, could prove to be effective on humans. It is known that AD is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized in the brain by abnormal clumps (amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (neurofibrillary tangles) composed of misplaced proteins. Scientists find it hard for the drugs to pass through the highly selective blood-brain barrier.

Prof.Solomon tried a different approach by administering a harmless bacterial virus known as a ‘filamentous phage’ through nasal passages. This lock onto plaques associated with the AD.

Prof. Solomon explains:

Phages dissolve plaque, the phages are going into the brain, they do their work, and then the body gets rid of them.

Alzheimer plaques first appear in the olfactory bulb and the first symptoms of this dreaded disease is the loss of smell. Prof. Solomon treated mice with the phage on mice that exhibited symptoms of AD and found that the mice regained their sense of smell with an improvement in memory power. After a year’s treatment, they had 80 percent fewer plaques than untreated mice.

If this new technique could be found equally effective on humans, the onset of Alzheimer’s could be delayed giving hope to millions of families who see their loved ones suffering from AD.

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