It has been found that an amyloid protein that is responsible for the onset of Alzheimer’s may in fact ward off infection in the brain.
Everybody knows that the amyloid proteins that cause Alzheimer’s Disease are subject to anomalies in their folding sequences. This results in sticky plaques that form around neurons in the brain.
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A novel study however studied this phenomenon in rodents and worms. The observations showed that this process is not entirely harmful in its scope.
While amyloid does tend to put a stop to neuronal activities, this may actually be a part of a primitive evolutionary reflex to save the brain from infectious diseases.
This may open the royal road to the treatment of degenerative diseases. Yet there are still some pockets of skepticism on the matter in the scientific community.
The research effort used animals that had been genetically modified to prepare amyloid proteins. While the novel evidence is exciting in its scope, it remains irrelevant (for now) in regard to Alzheimer’s Disease. Amyloid anomalies may harm other organs of the body besides the brain. These include the heart, liver and kidneys in their ranks.
The legitimate question that begs for an answer is that if this protein is so harmful, then why do some of the most ancient creatures on earth such as the coelacanth still produce it in sufficient quantities.
Alzheimer’s tends to have amyloid plaques accumulate with the onset of senescence. Yet the amyloid proteins bear an uncanny resemblance to other beneficial compounds in the natural pharmacy that is the human body. The fiber networks formed around the neurons tend to collect and kill the microbial agents that may cause much harm.
Amyloid proteins were tested in the lab on yeast cells and bacteria. These proteins were just as toxic to infectious agents as to neurons. This belies the fact that it is not a case of all-or-nothing.
The same thing that harms may also benefit depending on the circumstances. The protein tends to play a key role in the fight against infections. Therefore to think of getting rid of these proteins is not the sole answer to the Alzheimer’s equation.
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There is more than meets the eye here. Rodents were injected with an infectious agent. The mice with amyloid proteins in their brains in fact survived longer than the rest of the rodents in the control group. This proves the paradoxical point of the cure and the poison being one and the same thing.