Saturday, July 23, 2005

Alzheimer's finding promises

I keep finding stories related to the brain and how it functions, this just seems to be my favorite topic. Today I am looking at a news item that reflects the promise the future holds for bringing basic science into treatment.

The exciting news today, communicated on Eurekalert, is about three molecules scientists have discovered out of 58,000 compounds that appear to inhibit a key catalyst of Alzheimer's disease.

Each of the three molecules they found protects the protein called "tau," which becomes amazingly tangled in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's.

The scientists say that the neurofibrillary tangles of neurons in the brain, along with senile plaques, characterize Alzheimer's disease. The tangles are made of "tau," a protein that is also present normally in the brain.

In terms of future directions, Ken Kosik, co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says "There is lots to do here, lab testing, testing in animals, etc. But we have made an important step forward toward developing treatments for this disease."

More information on this finding can be found in the journal Chemistry & Biology.

Honestly, once this gets into more detail I cannot keep up with the science, but I am facinated with the kind of knowledge the researchers gain and the level of detail of these molecular findings. I appreciate the patience scientists have and the amount of time spent in the lab to dig this deep.

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