Saturday, 23 February, 2019

New evidence that viruses may play a role in Alzheimer's

New evidence that viruses may play a role in Alzheimer's New evidence that viruses may play a role in Alzheimer's
Melissa Porter | 23 June, 2018, 02:47

Alzheimer's is the sole disease in the top 10 U.S. causes of death that has no significant treatment available.

Researchers say their findings suggest that a controversial hypothesis that viruses are involved in dementia may be correct.

The researchers say they found increases in 2 types of herpes viruses in Alzheimer's-affected brains. The study points to the viruses as possible accomplices that drive disease progression but does not suggest that Alzheimer's may begin after they are transmitted through casual contact.

The research group, which included experts from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, and Arizona State University, Phoenix, originally set out to find whether drugs used to treat other diseases can be repurposed for treating Alzheimer's.

"The hypothesis that viruses play a part in brain disease is not new, but this is the first study to provide strong evidence based on unbiased approaches and large data sets that lends support to this line of inquiry", Dr. Richard J. Hodes, the National Institute on Aging director, said in a press release by the National Institutes of Health, the parent agency. These studies combined suggest a viral contribution but have not explained how the connection works.

They found that human herpesvirus 6A and 7 were up to twice as abundant in Alzheimer's disease samples than non-Alzheimer's ones. He wasn't involved in the new research but called it impressive. Dudley has met researchers at conferences who have confided in him that they have also collected data implicating pathogens in the disease but that they have been too scared to publish-for fear that they will be ostracized by the Alzheimer's community.

Joel Dudley, a geneticist and genomic scientist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and senior author of the new paper, had not meant to investigate this theory when his lab began working on the newly published study in 2013.

More evidence for controversial theory that herpesviruses play role in Alzhiemer's disease [news release]. Further study into how these particular viruses interacted with human genes revealed they may disrupt a gene galled Mir155.

"We're able to see if viral genes are friending some of the host genes and if they tweet, who tweets back", Dudley said.

And those with more advanced disease had more virus in their brains.

"We didn't go looking for viruses, but viruses sort of screamed at us", states lead author Ben Redhead, assistant research professor at the NDRC.

Childhood viruses that infect nearly everyone and lie dormant in the body for life might be involved in Alzheimer's disease, researchers reported Thursday. "When we built those network models, we found that the virus/host interaction contained many known Alzheimer's genes", he said.

Like other herpes viruses - herpes simplex, chickenpox and Epstein Barr virus - strains 6A and 7 linger dormant in the body and can reactivate later in life.

"While these findings do potentially open the door for new treatment options to explore in a disease where we've had hundreds of failed trials, they don't change anything that we know about the risk and susceptibility of Alzheimer's disease or our ability to treat it today", Gandy said. "We are excited about the chance to capitalize on this approach to help in the scientific understanding, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases".

The loss of cognitive functioning in Alzheimer's disease, an irreversible and progressive brain disorder, has been found to be a mix of different disease processes in the brain, rather than just one, such as buildup of amyloid or tau proteins.

The study, by scientists at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) in conjunction with others from Cambridge University, has been hailed by one researcher as "one of the most important medical advancements of the century".