Increasing tbe Brain’s Defense Mechanism Against Alzheimer’s Friday, Aug 1 2008 

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that can rob many people of their memory and also the capacity for living a normal life.  Researchers are finally making some breakthroughs recently that may be able to fight this terrible affliction.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered a new method for developing treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). They have shown that by stimulating a brain cell called a microglia the cells will partially engulf the senile plaques which are abundant in post mortem AD brain.

Alzheimer’s patients often develop plaque in their brain. This plaque consists of the protein beta-amyloid. This protein can kill neurons and this leads to many of the symptoms associated with alzhiemer’s disease. Now, researchers have done something similar in effect to enhancing the body’s own immune system response to destroy this plaque.  Basically they amped up activity in microglia brain cells in order to attack and destroy the plaque.

Microglia are cells found in the central nervous system that act as the brain’s immune cell. The human brain has approximately 14 billion microglia that patrol different areas of the brain and migrate to a site of injury to help restore normal functioning.

They found that when the microglia are treated with inflammatory stimulants, they actually stop the plaque from continuing to form. 

According to the article in Canada alone their are currently 500,000 canadians who suffer from alzhiemer’s. The costs associated with this disease are enormous (around $12-$15 billion per year).  This recent study is still preliminary.  However, this method may one day find use in stopping the progression of alzheimer’s disease.

Brain Injury Lawyer is a blog about brain disorders, brain injury, brain injury lawyers and brain injury law

Detecting Alzheimer’s with MRI Scans Monday, Jul 28 2008 

Researchers have recently used brain scanning technology to capture brain lesions associated with alzheimer’s disease in animal model.  Apparently using the MRI scans, researchers were able to visualize distinct signal voids.  These voids are basically black spots that are located in a number of brain areas including the hippocampus.  The hippocampus is a brain area that is critical for the normal functioning of a person’s memory.  So this is the first time that researchers were able to visualize alzheimer’s disease by brain scans in an animal model.

Eventually this may mean that doctors will be able to detect alzheimer’s disease early on in humans.

“As we search for ways to identify Alzheimer’s early, these MRI studies show that researchers are moving closer to accurate early detection of the disease, and that we may soon be able to use this technology to determine who is at greater risk,” Thies added.

Detection of the disease process this early might allow for more preventative measures to be undertaken. Eventually new alzhiemer’s drugs may be able to slow the disease process.

Brain Injury Lawyer is a blog about brain disorders, brain injury, brain injury lawyers and brain injury law