Alzheimer’s Disease – Progressive Neurodegenerative Disease

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Introduction

Its very common and accounts for 60-80 percent of the dementia cases in the united states. Alzheimer’s is caused by the buildup of a type of plaque in the brain. It interrupts the electrical signals between neurons that normally direct thoughts and memories in the brain. The result is that the person slowly becomes more and more forgetful. A certain amount of forgetfulness is normal with aging but those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease develop far more disrupted thinking patterns. People suffering from AD eventually lose the ability to recognize familiar people, even family memories. Sometimes, in late stages, their personalities change also, they become paranoid, and they become completely unable to take care of themselves. There is no cure for the disease and the medications available only treat the symptoms and show no promise in slowing the progression of this disease. Previous studies on aspirin and heart health showed a link between aspirin and Alzheimer’s disease. These studies showed that regular use of NSAIDs, including aspirin showed the users had a 20% lesser chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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Doctors and scientists do not know what exactly causes this disease but they have a pretty good idea. The major issue seems to be a minuscule brain protein fragment called beta-amyloid. This beta amyloid is a small piece of a larger protein called amyloid precursor protein (APP). When APP is turned on to do its normal job, it is cut by other proteins into smaller sections that stay inside and outside cells. when this protein is cut, one of those cut pieces formed is beta-amyloid and when that forms into clumps it produces those dangerous amyloid plaques. Dr. Kalipada Pahan who is a professor of neurological sciences at Rush University, gather a team of professors and decided to use this connection between aspirin and Alzheimer’s diseases to carry out experiments that would show in depth how exactly did the aspirin help with the disease. Dr. Pahan felt that developing drugs that can reduce the amount of beta amyloid, which can in turn form amyloid plaques, is an important area of research because these plaques are one of the pathological indications of this disease. Dr.Pahan and his team developed an experiment that entailed giving aspirin to mice with a mouse version of AD. He and his team genetically modified mice so that they had symptoms that resembled AD and so that they resembled the brain pathology of Alzheimer’s patients.

They also measured the amount of beta-amyloid that built up in the brains of the mice. Dr.Pahan and his team gave aspirin to the mice by mouth for about a month then took note of how much of amyloid plaque built up in the parts of the brain affected most by Alzheimer’s disease. The study revealed that aspirin stimulates the waste-clearing lysosomes and reduces pathological plaque in mice.

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