ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help
Facebook Google Plus
Fibromyalgia  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & M.E.  Lyme Disease  Natural Wellness  Supplement News  Forums  Our Story
Store     Brands   |   A-Z Index   |   Best Sellers   |   New Products   |   Deals & Specials   |   Under $10   |   SmartSavings Club

Trending News

10 Fibro-Friendly Foods with a Bonus: Beautiful Skin

Fight Back! Win the War Being Waged Against Your Immune System

Studies Show that Magnesium L-threonate Improves Brain Plasticity, Leading to Direct and Significant...

The role of microbiota and intestinal permeability in the pathophysiology of autoimmune and neuroimm...

Clary Sage Oil May Be Pricey, but Its Benefits Are Priceless

Component of red wine, grapes can help to reduce inflammation, study finds

Poly MVA: A Novel Therapy for Increasing Energy, Repairing DNA, and Promoting Overall Health

Pumpkin Pie Turmeric Breakfast Smoothie - Vegan + Gluten-Free

Vitamin D supplementation extends life in mouse model of Huntington's disease

What’s Fenugreek Good For?

Print Page
Email Article

Does Your Brain Shutdown with Alzheimer's?

  [ 5 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • June 12, 2002

By Andy Coghlan

For people with Alzheimer's disease, memories seem to leak away like the charge draining from a dying battery. The image is an apt one, because experiments on nerve cells suggest that as Alzheimer's takes hold, electrical charge may leak out of the brain cells, forcing them to "power down" and die, taking cherished memories with them.

The finding points to a new and unexpected mechanism for the way Alzheimer's disease damages the brain. And while the effect has yet to be demonstrated in living animals, there is tantalising evidence that drugs which block the effect could one day lead to new therapies for the condition.

Alzheimer's patients develop plaques in their brains when protein fragments called beta-amyloid clump together. When these plaques touch healthy brain cells, channels on the cell surface open up to let in a flood of calcium ions. This upsets the chemical balance of the cell, and it dies.

But it now turns out that another damaging process takes place that might help to kill off the cells. According to Vernon Ingram and a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the plaques appear to promote an additional flood of ions that destroys the potential difference that exists between the inside and the outside of a cell.

"Normal cells are negatively charged inside and positively charged on the outside," says Ingram. This potential difference across the cell membrane allows it to receive electrical signals from neighbouring cells. But Ingram's team found that when a plaque touches the cells, as well as positive calcium ions flooding in, negative chloride ions flow out, quickly draining the cell of its negative charge, just like a battery going dead.

Ingram, Barbara Blanchard and Veena Thomas added a special dye to cultures of human and rat nerve cells. The dye allows the researchers to measure the flow of ions, and hence the potential difference, across cell membranes. When they then added the amyloid peptide, the effect was dramatic: the cells became depolarised within minutes. "If this happens in memory-forming cells, you lose your memory," says Ingram.

Next, they exposed the depolarised cells to 1500 known drugs. The dye showed that 10 of the drugs reversed the depolarisation, restoring cells to normal. Some of these drugs are known to block channels that allow chloride ions to leave the cell, so an outward flow of chloride ions must be helping to depolarise the cell. Others blocked protein kinase C, an enzyme which may orchestrate the depolarisation from within the cell. The team now wants to test the drugs on brain slices from mice, and on live mice engineered to develop similar symptoms to Alzheimer's.

Richard Harvey, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society in London, is not convinced Ingram's group has hit on the key to Alzheimer's. "There's no evidence that membrane depolarisation is the most critical disease process," he says. "But I might be wrong." Neil Buckholtz, director of the dementias branch of the National Institute on Ageing in the US, says we need to know whether the drugs can actually cross the blood-brain barrier before any clinical trials.

Ingram agrees there's more to be done. "So far, we've only shown this in cell cultures," he says. "But it's a very promising first step and we're very excited about this."

More at: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (vol 293, p 1197 and p 1204)

New Scientist issue: 15 JUNE 2002


Post a Comment

Featured Products From the ProHealth Store
Vitamin D3 Extreme™ Ultra ATP+, Double Strength Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil

Looking for Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements?
Search the ProHealth Store for Hundreds of Natural Health Products

Article Comments

Be the first to comment on this article!

Post a Comment

Natural Pain Relief Supplements

Featured Products

Vitamin D3 Extreme™ Vitamin D3 Extreme™
50,000 IU Vitamin D3 - Prescription Strength
Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Energy NADH™ 12.5mg
Improve Energy & Cognitive Function
FibroSleep™ FibroSleep™
The All-in-One Natural Sleep Aid
Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor® Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor®
Reduce Fatigue up to 45%
Optimized Curcumin Longvida® Optimized Curcumin Longvida®
Supports Cognition, Memory & Overall Health

Natural Remedies

Stop Bacteria With Nature's Antibiotics Stop Bacteria With Nature's Antibiotics
Live Without Anxiety or Stress Live Without Anxiety or Stress
Magnesium + Malic Acid: One-Two Punch for Pain & Fatigue Magnesium + Malic Acid: One-Two Punch for Pain & Fatigue
Guarding Against the Dangers of Vitamin D Deficiency Guarding Against the Dangers of Vitamin D Deficiency
The Revolutionary 'Good Fat' That Promotes Heart, Brain, Bone and Joint Health The Revolutionary 'Good Fat' That Promotes Heart, Brain, Bone and Joint Health

ProHealth, Inc.
555 Maple Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(800) 366-6056  |  Email

· Become a Wholesaler
· Vendor Inquiries
· Affiliate Program
Credit Card Processing
Be the first to know about new products, special discounts and the latest health news. *New subscribers only

CONNECT WITH US ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus

© 2016 ProHealth, Inc. All rights reserved. Pain Tracker App  |  Store  |  Customer Service  |  Guarantee  |  Privacy  |  Contact Us  |  Library  |  RSS  |  Site Map