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Сause of Alzheimer's disease identified in new study

Сause of Alzheimer's disease identified in new study Scientists have discovered a new cause of Alzheimer's disease (photo:

Researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University conducted a new study on the causes of Alzheimer's disease. They identified a unique form of cell death that operates like a snowball and rapidly impairs cognitive functions, according to the Annals of Neurology journal.

During their study of post-mortem brain tissue from a dementia patient, scientists were able to identify a specific form of cell death in the white matter composed of myelinated axons, which accelerates cognitive decline.

This particular type of cell death is known as ferroptosis and is induced by the accumulation and toxic influence of iron. In this process, immune brain cells in Alzheimer's and vascular dementia are destroyed.

Immune brain cells called microglia die while performing their job of cleaning up "garbage" cells. However, if the "garbage" contains myelin particles rich in iron, it triggers a snowball effect, causing the death of other cells.

Myelin creates a protective layer around nerves and gets damaged due to neurological stress. This leads to ferroptosis – the death of microglial cells in the brain's white matter.

"Everyone knows that microglia get activated to mediate inflammation. But nobody knew that they die in such large numbers. It's even strange that we didn't pay attention to this nuance before," write the authors of the study.

While suppressing ferroptosis is seen as a treatment goal for Alzheimer's, this new discovery may offer a completely different perspective on the development of new treatment methods for the disease. Perhaps scientists will be able to slow down the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

"We've missed the primary form of cell death in Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. We haven't paid enough attention to microglia as vulnerable cells and to the degradation of brain matter," emphasize the researchers.

Now, pharmaceutical companies will have a new target - to develop compounds that limit microglial degeneration. This will pave the way for the creation of entirely new and effective drugs for the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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