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Researchers find mitochondria length could factor into Alzheimer's care

Posted by RHHAdmin on Aug 24, 2012 7:38:00 AM

Researchers are working to try and figure out a way to deter Alzheimer's, or at least get a better understanding of the neurodegenerative disease in order to help with Alzheimer's care.

According to new research published in Neuron, scientists have discovered the length of mitochondria in neurons could be a key factor in treatment for Alzheimer's.

"There had been a fair amount of interest in mitochondria in Alzheimer's and tau-related diseases, but causality was unknown," said Brian DuBoff, first author of the study and a post-doctoral research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The researchers used fruit flies with defective tau protein and looked at the mitochondria in the brain cells. Tau is a protein found in neurons, and diseases such as Alzheimer's have been tied to it when a tau malfunctions. According to the findings, when the mitochondria were elongated, the flies typically had normal tau.

In addition to tau affecting the neurodegenerative process, the study's authors found that proteins DRP1and actin had a hand in issues. According to the researchers, DRP1 assists with splitting of mitochondria, while actin is crucial for maintaining cell structure.

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Topics: Dementia, Health News