Yesterday I posted about the increasing difficulty in assessing the early onset of dementia in older adults. Those results were based on the usual way of assessing dementis - the use of cognitive testing. I mentioned at the end of the article that medical assessment, such as neuroimaging, may help pick up the slack as a method of early detection, as the science continues to progress in these areas.
Today, I came across this article, which suggests science is heading in exactly that direction. Researchers have noted the presence of a phosphate in an amino acid is a major cause of Alzheimer's Disease. The article goes into some detail on the mechanics involved - I simply wanted to point out the speed at which medical research seems to be advancing. from the article:
In a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on May 15, Dr. Hemant Paudel, his PhD student Dong Han and postdoctoral fellows Hamid Qureshi and Yifan Lu, report that the addition of a single phosphate to an amino acid in a key brain protein is a principal cause of Alzheimer's. Identifying this phosphate, one of up to two-dozen such molecules, could make earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer's possible and might, in the longer term, lead to the development of drugs to block its onset.
The crucial protein, called a tau protein, is a normal part of the brain and central nervous system. But in Alzheimer's patients, tau proteins go out of control and form tangles that, along with senile plaques, are the primary cause of the degenerative disease.
The article goes on to point out the obvious benefit of this knowledge to the process of brain imaging, in terms of early detection. It also provides new leads for the development of treatments. Good news, especially when studies like the one I discussed yesterday come out. In addition, it may just be that I'm a psychic...