A Jolie - Alzheimer's Cure

An American research team has found that people who develop a dementia like Alzheimer’s may have lower levels of a particular protein in their bodies. The gene that makes the protein is also linked with breast and ovarian cancer; Miss Jolie’s discovery that she had this gene – and was eight times more likely to develop breast cancer, led to her having a double mastectomy in May 2013. 

The protein, known as BRCA1, is thought to keep the brain healthy and reduced levels can make brain cells or neurons shrink. This can in turn lead to memory loss and learning difficulties - key symptoms of Alzheimer’s. 500,000 British people currently take drugs to alleviate the effects but at present these only provide short-term respite 

BRCA1 Protein Levels 75% Lower in Alzheimer’s Patients 

Scientists who looked at the brains of people who had died of the disease, found BRCA1 protein levels at 75% lower than that of people without Alzheimer’s. They now believe that if the levels can be artificially raised to a normal concentration then it is possible that the symptoms can be reversed or prevented from developing in the first place. 

Dr Lennart Mucke of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in San Francisco states: 

‘Therapeutic manipulation of repair factors such as BRCA1 may ultimately be used to prevent neuronal damage and cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease or in people at risk of the disease. By normalising the levels or function of BRCA1, it may be possible to protect neurons from excessive DNA damage and prevent the many detrimental processes it can set in motion.’ 

The National Cancer Institute states that this gene mutation is relatively rare and suggests that testing should only be performed when someone’s family history shows early-onset breast cancer, and that if those family members are still alive, then to see if the BRCA1 mutation is present. If this shows positive then further members of the same family may wish to consider genetic counselling to learn more about their potential risks.

Carers for people who have a dementia such as Alzheimer's will find our Alzheimer's Activity Work Book an invaluable source of information and ideas. The 75 photocopiable pages are packed full of simple arithmatic, spellings,  puzzles and pictures to colour. Designed by us and approved by Activity Coordinators, this will be a great resource for care homes and day centres everywhere.

Order yours now from our website. Also follow us on Facebook.

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