New Breakthrough May Halt LB Dementia

New Breakthrough May Halt LB Dementia

A new drugs discovery has been found that could stop one of the most common types of dementia. An article in Tuesday’s Daily Mail states that:

‘New drugs for one of the most common types of dementia could be on the horizon after scientists discovered how it spreads.

The drugs could stop it 'in its tracks' by targeting a key chemical called alpha-synuclein, according to researchers. The rogue protein is one of four types believed to be behind the devastating neurological disorder. It disrupts brain cells in dementia with Lewy bodies - also known as DLB that is progressive and gets worse over time.

Brain tissue from people who died from it showed the protein builds up in vital parts of neurons that connect cells. These may jump from one cell to another through these connections, say the international team led by Edinburgh University.

The findings shed light on the causes of DLB and will help to speed up the search for a treatment, they say. It is the third most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's and vascular dementias and affects around 100,000 people in the UK. It can cause severe memory loss as well as movement problems. There is currently no cure.


Study co-leader Professor Tara Spires-Jones, who heads up the UK Dementia Research Institute at Edinburgh University, said: 'DLB is a devastating condition. Our findings suggest it's at least partly driven by damage to synapses’.

'These discoveries should invigorate the search for therapies aimed at reducing synaptic damage and open the possibility of targeting the spread of alpha-synuclein through the brain - which could stop disease progression in its tracks.' 

Her researchers - which included colleagues in Spain - showed synapses in five people who had died with DLB contained clumps of the damaging alpha-synuclein - which could contribute to symptoms.

The toxic protein was spotted in both sides of the synapses - suggesting it may jump between cells through these connections. This sheds light on how damage could be spread through the brain. It was not seen in the brains tissue of people with Alzheimer's disease - the most common form of dementia - or those without any type of the illness.

The discovery was made with extremely powerful scanning devices used in DLB for the first time.’

(Extract taken from: Christina Zhao for mailonline 21 November 2017 )

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