JUN 29, 2015 1:11 PM PDT

Some Dementia Patients Lack Common Signs

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Dementia is a generic term used to describe a wide range of diseases related to brain malfunction that leads to memory loss and an inability to perform daily tasks (Alzheimer's Association). Alzheimer's disease is the most widely known form of dementia and accounts for the majority of dementia cases.

Neurofibrillary tangles and beta-amyloid plaques are highly associated with cases of Alzheimer's, and they occur 10-15 years before noticeable characteristics of the disease.

Typical cases of Alzheimer's Disease show large areas of the brain damaged by neurofibrillary tangles and beta-amyloid plaques

However, a few cases of dementia occur that lack these typical lesions. Scientists from the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience have now begun to explain the cause of disease in these patients: a new pathway to neuronal dysfunction resulting from DNA damage. The Sheffield Scientists explored how DNA strand breaks from oxidative stress during oxidative metabolism increased as a result of aging, similarly to increasing numbers of tangles and plaques in other Alzheimer's cases.

Approximately 20% of the elderly population suffering from dementia show to be cases of DNA damage due to oxidative stress from aging. The Sheffield scientists visualized this damage in donated brain tissue from patients with dementia (without neurofibrillary tangles or beta amyloid plaques) in comparison to non-DNA damaged, healthy control samples of brain tissue.

The scientists will continue uncovering the interactions between processes damaging DNA in the neurons, and plan to "potentially reveal novel dementia biomarkers, cellular pathways and specific therapeutic targets." This is knowledge highly sought after considering our aging population and subsequent increasing group of potential dementia patients. Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and it costs hundreds of billions of dollars each year to care for dementia patients (Alzheimer's Association). Although dementia remains incurable, discerning new therapeutic targets is always a promising stepping stone to discovering how to reverse the devastating impact of this disease.



(Source: Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology)
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 27, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Delivering DNA- & RNA-Based Therapies in a New Way
DEC 27, 2020
Delivering DNA- & RNA-Based Therapies in a New Way
Gene therapy holds tremendous promise for its potential to cure genetic diseases. We've also recently seen how critical ...
DEC 30, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Of Mice and Men: Deep Learning Transforms Diagnostics
DEC 30, 2020
Of Mice and Men: Deep Learning Transforms Diagnostics
Medical imaging technologies enable physicians to take a peek under the hood, capturing snapshots of the internal organs ...
JAN 03, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Gaining Insight Into the Neuronal Circuitry of the Developing Brain
JAN 03, 2021
Gaining Insight Into the Neuronal Circuitry of the Developing Brain
The neuronal connections in the human brain are more complex than anything we can build artificially right now. But rese ...
JAN 05, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
JAN 05, 2021
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
Researchers affiliated with the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil have used epigenetic modulators to reduce stress-induc ...
JAN 16, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Watching RNA Folding As Its Being Made
JAN 16, 2021
Watching RNA Folding As Its Being Made
Once thought of primarily as an intermediary between the coding portions of DNA and proteins, our understanding of RNA a ...
JAN 26, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Diagnostic Tool Could ID 20% of Autism Cases
JAN 26, 2021
Diagnostic Tool Could ID 20% of Autism Cases
Scientists may have created a diagnostic test that can identify as many as one-fifth of potential autism spectrum disord ...
Loading Comments...