A new study found that when the body lacks an amino acid called arginine , an important nutrient of the brain, it may result to Alzheimer’s disease. This finding may lead to a new way of curing patients from this crippling disease.
Researchers at Duke University is on a study that concentrates on the immune system. According to Agence France-Presse, the study has revealed a new discovery that the cells which are supposed to protect the brain from infection unexpectedly eats up arginine during the early stage of Alzheimer’s.
“Our approach is recognized as unique and opens new avenues to think about what causes Alzheimer’s disease and new ways to treat the disease,” Dr. Carol Colton , a senior author said.
The team came up with an idea of blocking the arginine from the attacks by introducing a drug called difluoromethylornithine , while it prevents the accumulation of ‘plaques’ in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s. The drug is also known to treat patients with cancer. Yet Colton is still hopeful in finding an even more effective drug to stop the cell attacks in the long run.
In spite of that , the mice that went through with the treatment have shown improvements and had better results with its memory tests .
“The response to this potential new mechanism … is favorable,” Colton said. “We are cautiously optimistic.”
The team is on their next attempt to test on older mice that had long been having the disease at an advanced stage. The study was posted in the April 15 issue of Journal of Neuroscience.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were about 5 million Americans who suffered Alzheimer’s in the year 2013 and will increase to about 14 million more people by 2050.