Taking Action Against Alzheimer's


Alzheimer's disease is a common form of dementia in which the brain begins to deplete as you age. This disease impairs your memory, speech, thought process, etc. and will eventually lead to death. The symptoms usually start when you are a middle aged adult (40-50 yrs. old), but a lot of the time the disease can go unnoticed until you reach an elderly age. There are distinct characteristics of the brain that change when a person has Alzheimer's. The cause and progression of Alzheimer's disease are not well understood. Treatments for the disease only prolong the life of the victim, there is no cure for it.

When you have the disease, the gene SORL1 is involved in producing a toxic protein that is associated with Alzheimer's. It is a huge part of the pathway to Alzheimer's disease. For years scientist have been trying to figure out the biological pathways that lead to Alzheimer's.  This article presents the studies that were conducted with two separate groups of people (one with the disease and one without) to examine the difference in the SORL1 gene in each brain.  People were gathered, children and adults to see the changes and progression of the disease from all ages. In their study they were able to see how the SORL1 gene was reacting in these patients bodies. In the first group of healthy individuals, ages 8-86, researchers used a brain imagining technique called diffusion tensor imagining. Every participant shower a reduction in white matter connections in the brain that deals with memory performance. In the second sample it used post-mortem brain tissue from 189 different people without Alzheimer's disease. Among those with the same copy of SORL1 gene the brain tissue showed disruption during the process because the gene translated the code as a sortilin-like receptor. In the third and final set of post-mortem brains came from 710 individuals, of whom the majority had mild cognitive impairment. In this case the gene was linked with amyloid-beta, which is a protein found in Alzheimer's disease.

I believe that this test is very beneficial and should continue to be researched, as this is no cure for Alzheimer's. This test gives you a chance to identify the disease early on and take action. Typically Alzheimer's isn't identified until a very later age so I believe it puts you in a spot to be proactive and could be life changing. All this research is moving, step-by-step, to a closer way to finally finding a cure. In the final part of the article it states, "The next stage is to look at the interaction of BDNF and SORL1." With research they are slowly identifying the underlining cause of Alzheimer's and because of Dr. Voineskos' studies the argument that Alzheimer's can't be cured will one day be that of the past. I believe they should continue their studies and advancement towards a cure and keep testing subjects using SORL1 as it is proving to be beneficial. In conclusion, with these new studies Alzheimer's will one day be cured and they should keep up with their studies no matter the cost.





Very informative post. I agree that there needs to be more research done on Alzheimer's for causes, potential treatments, and hopefully a cure. Two people in my family have had the disease and it makes me worry about heredity and the prevalence of the disorder in my family. It is important and beneficial for people to catch the disease in its earlier stages for treatment. Here is in article about which chromosomes determine late or early onset of the disease and discusses its heredity.

Wow that's crazy that Alzheimer's can be traced back to those 4 individual genes. Maybe if those genes are, as standard, checked on youth or young adults in order to look into it a little more of a proactive approach as someone who shows positive links within those genes. Basically a red flag, to make those more prone a bit more alert and aware.

I read an article on CBS news (found below) about marijuanas effect on Alzheimer's. THC, the "active ingredient" in marijuana, is more effective at blocking the brain clogging plaque caused by Alzheimer's. While pot may not prevent Alzheimer's, it is much more effective at slowing down the disease than the best drugs on the market (THC-22%, leading drug-7%). Very interesting to see that a drug that is illegal can have a much better impact on an Alzheimer's patient than legal drugs.


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