Researchers have long linked inflammation in the brain to Alzheimer’s disease, but two new studies are giving them more insight into the correlation between the two. The studies from the University of Southampton in England found that inflammation in the brain increases as Alzheimer’s progresses and found a chemical to potentially slow the effects of the disease.
Learn more about the study and its potential effects on future drug treatments for Alzheimer’s.
Reducing Inflammation to Halt Alzheimer’s
Two studies have given researchers more insight into the damaging effects of neuroinflammation and its role in the progression of Alzheimer’s. Researchers from the University of Southampton in England recently found that a chemical that reduces inflammation may be able to protect the memory loss and behavioral changes that accompany an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The studies, recently published in the journal Brain, have concluded that inflammation in the brain is not a result of Alzheimer’s, but instead a key driver, helping the disease to progress. Researchers compared the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease to the brains of healthy individuals and found that the brains of people with Alzheimer’s had higher levels of immune cells, called microglia, suggesting brain inflammation. As Alzheimer’s progressed, researchers noted that that inflammation increased.
Another study found that a chemical, GW2580, successfully reduced memory loss and behavioral problems in mice with dementia. Researchers gave mice an inhibitor to reduce inflammation and found that Alzheimer’s stopped progressing as inflammation stopped. Some of the mice were treated with the GW2580 chemical and those mice demonstrated less memory loss and less behavioral problems than the mice who did not receive the chemical.
Exciting Discovery Could Lead to Alzheimer’s Drug Trials
Lead author of the study, Dr. Diego Gomez-Nicola, is encouraged by the findings, stating:
“We have shown a way into tackling the disease, and now it is time to progress this to the clinical set up as soon as possible.”
He went on to say, “These findings are as close to evidence as we can get to show that this particular pathway is active in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The next step is to work closely with our partners in industry to find a safe and suitable drug that can be tested to see if it works in humans.”
The study also suggests that diet and positive lifestyle choices can be an important part of Alzheimer’s prevention. Researchers caution that it is too early to make recommendations but are encouraged and excited by the study and it’s potential impact on future Alzheimer’s treatment methods.