Gaining Ground Against Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In 2014, the disease took the lives of more than 80,000 men and women across the country. But research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that treatment, and perhaps reversal, of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's symptoms with a drug-like chemical might be on the horizon.
Researchers at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, led by Dr. Carlo Breda, used fruit flies to investigate how metabolites — which are produced during chemical processes in the body, e.g., metabolism — contribute to nerve-cell loss in diseases like Parkinson's, Huntington's, and Alzheimer's. The team's discovery, centered on the protection of brain cells against toxic metabolites, could be a turning point in the battle against a wide array of neurodegenerative diseases, according to the researchers.
This sort of research is, of course, increasingly urgent, as more and more people in countries around the globe live longer, and as neurodegenerative diseases in an aging population — for the time being, at least — become more common.