Fat Deposits in Brain May Speed Up Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's disease may be accelerated by an abnormal buildup of fat deposits in the brain, according to a study at the Research Center of the University of Montreal Hospital.
Researchers say that this discovery could help pave the way for new targeted treatments for the degenerative disease.
While trying to find out why stems cells in the brain that normally repair damage become inactive during Alzheimer’s, researchers not only found fat droplets in the brain of those who died from Alzheimer's, but also identified the type of fat present. Using advanced mass spectrometry, the built-up fat triglycerides were found to contain the same fatty acids found in vegetable oils or animal fats.
Fat buildup in the brain was said to have been noted by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who discovered the disease in 1906, but largely overlooked and forgotten since then. Researchers said that with mice bred to develop a type of Alzheimer's, they found the same fat droplets near the stem cells of the brain. These deposits became present when mice were two months old, which in humans would be around their early 20s. In another study, researchers compared the brains of nine patients who had died from Alzheimer's with five who did not. Those who had Alzheimer's had significantly more fat droplets in the brain.
Researchers say that these deposits normally start to build up as we age, but in those with genes that put a person at risk for Alzheimer's, this process happens much faster.
Further research is being conducted on drugs that may be able to block the fatty acid enzymes and stop them from spreading.
_This Week's Slice of History: _Taking on DDT: Aug. 29, 1962