Do Infections Cause Alzheimer’s Disease?
Since millions of people around the country are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they all want to know what causes it? While medical professionals do have some theories about the causes of this type of dementia, there is not one clear consensus. The latest news to come from the medical field proposed the theory that a brain infection may cause Alzheimer’s disease.
The New York Times reports on results from a new and exciting Harvard Study that proposes that after a brain has tried to fight off an infection, the remains of that fight is what leads to Alzheimer’s disease. This condition, the most common type of dementia, is caused by beta-amyloid plaques that build up in the brain, causing memory decline and mental and cognitive functions to fail.
A virus, bacteria or fungus can cause symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed, yet leave debris in the form of plaques that causes Alzheimer’s years later. A proposed theory is that once the infection enters the brain membranes, the brain tries to halt it by creating beta amyloids, which is a sticky substance to trap the infection. However, even though the infection is killed off, the plaques remain.
This theory is based on the fact that amyloid proteins in the brain, which are traditionally believed to have no function, look very similar to proteins that the immune system uses to ward off infections and viruses. This theory was tested on mice, and it was found that these amyloids do trap microbes.
Furthermore, this article states that some people who have the Alzheimer’s gene, E-e4 (APOE-e4), don’t even need the infection to produce plaques, the brain simply overproduces them. This gene”may be a factor in 20 to 25 percent of Alzheimer’s cases,” states the Alzheimer’s Association.
This gene can also explain about people who have infections, but don’t end up getting Alzheimer’s disease? Researchers believe that people with the APOE-e4 gene simply cannot clear out the amyloid plaques that are left over; however, those with the APOE-e2 gene are able to remove the debris much better, and don’t end up with this condition.
Los Angeles Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials
Although there is no Alzheimer’s cure, there are Alzheimer’s medications that ease symptoms that are being tested in Los Angeles paid clinical studies. For those that choose to enroll, benefits involve compensation, free medical tests and care, as well as the chance to be one of the people to try a drug that actually works.
Pacific Institute of Medical Research offers Los Angeles Alzheimer’s clinical trials. Contact them at (310) 208-7144 or go online to find out more information.