Alzheimer’s research: How worms are making a difference
The development of Alzheimer’s is a process; it doesn’t happen all at once. First, proteins in the body fold abnormally and clump together. This causes tangles called amyloid fibrils to form, and gives rise to the clusters that cause brain damage. But researchers may have found a new drug that could stop this chain of events, and possibly a treatment that could help reduce the risk of developing the disease altogether.
The drug, called bexarotene, stops the abnormal protein folding. This isn’t the first time that scientists have tried to stop the development of early protein buildup, but it seems that they didn’t have a full understanding of what actually happens at each stage of the disease.
But now, scientists think they’ve figured it out. And this better understanding of the mechanisms of disease is leading to new treatments. When they administered bexarotene to Alzheimer’s models of nematode worms in the laboratory before the onset of symptoms, they didn’t develop the disease!
Pretty cool, especially if this translates into humans! Read more about it here.