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[Study] Could A Unique Protein Reduce The Development Of Alzheimer’s?

alzheimer's disease, alzheimer's, alzheimers, alzheimers protein, what causes alzheimers, alzheimers disease, causes of alzheimers, what is alzheimer's disease, altimers

Image: The Papyrus

Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease.1 An irreversible neurodegenerative disease and the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s is typically characterized by progressive memory loss; including anything from short-term, newly learned information to childhood memories.

But a new study has led researchers at Harvard to believe that there might be more light at the end of the tunnel; and a potential answer to the Alzheimer’s conundrum. A unique protein, known as REST (repressor element 1-silencing transcription),2 is present during the beginning stages of brain development. It functions as a regulator, or a switch, that turns specific genes on and off. Research revealed that for most adults, that protein may turn back on later in life; potentially defending the brain against the stressors of development, slowing the degeneration of neurons, and switching off genes that ultimately promote cell death and lead to Alzheimer’s. 

And interestingly, for those with Alzheimer’s disease, REST was found to be notably absent from various brain regions.3

This key piece of information could help scientists develop drugs that intervene with the illness in its early stages. If successful, the toxicity of Alzheimer’s might be caught before it continues to progress and spread throughout the brain, leading to slower development of the disease.

“Since Alzheimer’s strikes late in life, delaying the onset of disease by just a few years could have a very substantial impact.” — Bruce Yankner, Harvard Medical School4

While it is not a cure, this preliminary finding in the intricate and complex world of dementia has major potential. Knowing that a healthy brain should show significant levels of REST could lead scientists to conduct further research — adding a stepping stone to eventual treatments and a potential cure for Alzheimer’s.

Julie Fine

Julie Fine

Content Specialist at Lean It Up
Julie Fine is an AFAA-CGF, Beachbody INSANITY Coach, former chunky gal, 110% pure fitness junkie and an SEC-lovin' sorority girl at the University of Missouri.

When she isn't spending her extra time as a campus tour guide (Go Tigers!), she's probably scrounging around the aisles of Barnes & Noble or doing some impulse online shopping.
Julie Fine
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  1. Alzheimer’s Association []
  2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science []
  3. International Weekly Journal of Science []
  4. HuffingtonPost — Landmark Alzheimer’s Study Pinpoints Protein That Protects Aging Brain []