Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lack of key protein linked to Alzheimer's

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Catholic Online (

Alzheimer's patients have lower levels of ubiquilin-1 in their brains, a study finds.

Scientists have found that Alzheimer's disease patients have reduced levels of a critical protein. The protein, ubiquilin-1, is found in nearly all tissues and is used by the body to mark damaged or unnecessary proteins for destruction. Reduced ubiquilin-1 means that other damaged proteins persist in the brain and contribute to the formation of cells that are associated with Alzheimer's.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The study observed for the first time, much lower than normal ubiquilin-1 levels in the entire set of 20 brains that were examined.

The lower levels means that other proteins, amyloid precursor proteins, which have been linked to Alzheimer's, are able to persist in the brains of patients instead of being properly regulated.

The information helps scientists to better understand the cause of Alzheimer's disease and may suggest new avenues for research and treatment.

Alzheimer's disease is a specific form of dementia that worsens over time and notoriously affects memory, thought, and behavior. It is also the most common form of dementia. Most patients are diagnosed as they grow older and find problems with language, decision-making and judgment.
Many simply attribute these symptoms to aging, but experts stress that such symptoms are not a normal part of the process. The rate of diagnosis of Alzheimer's is increasing, so scientists are anxious to learn more about the disease.

The link between ubiquilin-1 and Alzheimer's is new information for researchers.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Medical branch at Galveston and published in the journal of Biological Chemistry.

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