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New study shows how immune system could help in the fight against Alzheimer's

Posted by RHHAdmin on Jun 15, 2012 6:03:00 AM

Millions of Americans are affected by Alzheimer's disease each year. Whether you care for a loved one or suffer from the disease yourself, many come into contact with the disease at some point in their lifetime.

While there is no cure, scientists have been working to get a better understanding of the disease, hoping to lead to new innovations in Alzheimer's care.

Researchers from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter and the National Institute on Aging recently suggested that the immune system could be involved in removing beta-amyloid, which is the main cause of Alzheimer's in the brain. Previous work had been conducted on mice, but this newest study is the first of its kind to apply the theory to humans.

The researchers screened the expression levels of thousands of genes in the blood levels of more than 700 participants. The study determined that a gene called CCR2 was the marker for immune system activity in the fight against beta-amyloid. The study's authors are excited for what this discovery could mean for the future of Alzheimer's care.

"Identification of a key player in the interface between immune function and cognitive ability may help us to gain a better understanding of the disease processes involved in Alzheimer's disease and related disorders," said study co-author Dr. Lorna Harries.

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Topics: Dementia, Health News