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All About Alzheimer’s: Protein Triggers, Help for Early Onset, Available Drugs
New research suggests that triggering a protein found on the surface of brain cells may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases. Two research teams at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis working with mice linked the TREM 2 protein to the ability to clear debris from the brain.
Scientists have found evidence of the amyloid protein found in Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of people as young as 20. Amyloid is normal in the brain and is an antioxidant promoting the brain’s ability to remain adaptable by forming new connections and reinforcing old ones, especially memories. However, the amyloid proteins start to clump together in some people, forming sticky masses in the brain that interfere with normal nerve function.
There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are a variety of drugs currently available that can help manage the symptoms and some of the behavioral changes. There’s a total of four drugs approved in the United States to treat Alzheimer’s. Experimental treatment also are available.
The National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center has a new online resource list to assist people with early-onset Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers. Topics include living with early onset Alzheimer’s, legal and financial planning, caregiving, and clinical trials and studies.
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