While only seven percent of people ages 65 and older often forget what day it is, the rates of Alzheimer’s are in fact increasing as time goes on. However, new research has discovered that a critical protein may be the key to an effective treatment for the disease.
The population of patients with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. is projected to swell to upwards of 13 million by the middle of the century, and researchers are doing all they can to devise a form of effective treatment for the disease.
Salvatore Oddo, a researcher at the Biodesign Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center (NDRC), has been studying the effects and inner workings of the devastating disease.
Oddo and a team of researchers recently examined p62 — a critical protein associated with tell-tale symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Their findings present an opportunity to delve deeper into the intricacies of the disease and potentially develop a form of treatment.
The protein p62 has already been associated with the accumulation of tau tangles within the brain, but Oddo and his colleagues have discovered that it has ties to the buildup of plaque and another critical protein, known as amyloid beta.
Their study actually demonstrates for the first time that p62 plays a role in the degradation or turnover of amyloid beta in living systems.
Not only does this give researchers a better insight into the disease itself, it presents an opportunity to develop a new form of treatment for Alzheimer’s patients.
Too often, Alzheimer’s claims the lives of loved ones. Not even famous basketball coach Pat Summitt was immune to the devastation of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Summitt, although passed, keeps her title of winningest college basketball coach of all-time to this day.
With a record of 1,098 wins and eight national titles in 38 seasons at Tennessee, hers is a large pair of shoes to fill.
In honor of her achievements and her legacy, the Tennessee Volunteers will be wearing commemorative stickers on their helmets during this season.
The sticker’s design will be Summitt’s signature “P” that could be seen on every one of her signatures, and will be revealed to the world during the Vol’s opening game of the season.
Cases like Summitt’s are rare, but no less devastating. Fortunately, research like Oddo’s will help provide treatments for the future.
“These exciting finding suggest that compounds aimed at increasing p62 may have beneficial effects for Alzheimer’s disease,” Oddo said.