A medical researcher from Stony Brook University begins with an initial analysis that will allow her to eavesdrop on the human brain and observe it from the healthy to the complex stages of Alzheimer's disease. It's an effort that will eventually involve more than 100 local volunteers as subjects, Dr. Christine DeLorenzo, senior scientist and director of Stony Brooks Center for Understanding Biology with Imaging Technology.
The goal is to rehearse zero regions of the brain involved in memory, using a type of technology called positron emission tomography or PET.
DeLorenzo's efforts reflect a major research push announced by the National Institute on Aging earlier this year: Alzheimer's Disease should be understood through the intricate and dynamic biological forces that propel it. Symptoms alone are no longer sufficient for the diagnosis.
In Stony Brook, DeLorenzo is on the hunt for these biological forces ̵
1; markers of the disease – as doctors worldwide claim that decoding these indicators may provide opportunities for detecting disease years later, before obvious symptoms emerge
"We have started a pilot study on people ages 55 and older who look at the entire area from health to Alzheimer's, "DeLorenzo said.
With an Intimate Understanding of How the Disease Is Attacking The brain, newer treatments can be refined to more purposefully target the damage. The hope is to provide interventions in the not-too-distant future that will stop or reverse such anomalies before they turn into an accumulation of attacks that steal the mind and destroy lives.
Alzheimer's disease is a relentless neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no cure. The doctors still do not have a clear scientific understanding of how the disorder destroys the cells involved in memory.
The condition is the sixth major cause of death in the United States and the only one in the top 10 with no cure or reversible treatment. Currently, more than 400,000 people live in New York, including 50,000 on Long Island, according to the Alzheimer Foundation of America.
Nationwide, more than 5.7 million people are affected by Alzheimer's, the most common form of Alzheimer's disease. The disease is expected to explode as the population ages.
DeLorenzo has focused her research on the so-called cholinergic system, which consists of cells that are widely distributed in the brain. These cells are abundant in the hippocampus region of the three pound organ associated with short and long term memory.
"It's a very critical system for memory," DeLorenzo said, noting that Alzheimer's is aggressively attacking him for cholinergic neurons – cells based on the vital brain chemical known as acetylcholine.
This chemical, a neurotransmitter, is involved in the transmission of signals through the brain in an extensive communication network that underlies human thinking and memory.
Target cholinergic cells by blocking an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. The problem with the drugs, DeLorenzo said, is their limited effectiveness.
Coping despite the odds
Families affected by Alzheimer's despite the unbeatable chances of a progressive illness and only five drugs approved to treat it in the last 22 years
In Medford, Susan Miller said that the life of her Man with Alzheimer's monitors that the medications improve clarity but are definitely not a cure.
Her husband, Jay Gassman, was diagnosed early in 2012 at the age of 56. Beginning Alzheimer's, a form of the disease that occurs before age 65. Early dementia is rare because Alzheimer's is largely a disease of old age. Regardless of when the disease begins, the prescribed medications are the same.
Gassman, who holds a PhD, had been a clinical psychologist before Alzheimer's developed. He takes two drugs for the disorder, Miller said.
One is galantamine, which helps to slow down acetylcholine breakdown; He also takes a drug called Namenda, which regulates the activity of a brain chemical called glutamate. This connection is involved in the ability of the brain to process, store, and then recover information. Both are for mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer's.
"We all want something better," Miller said of himself and other caregivers.
"Jay could tell me at the time that galantamine was so prescribed that it was much clearer that there was more clarity," Miller said. "With the addition of Namenda, who also seemed to initiate things a bit in terms of clarity and awareness, and he was able to express that."
Despite strong medication, Miller is certain of this fact: "He's certainly going to get worse, that's obvious."
"If you did not know him, you would not think something was wrong," she said.
"This is the cruellest disease," Miller said of a state of affairs that has not been confirmed by English: bio-pro.de/en/region/stern/magazin/…2/index.html DeLorenzo. that their research could offer something new to patients
"We believe that we will be able to improve patients' quality of life efficacy of current treatments by better understanding the structure and function of cholinergic neurons, said DeLorenzo.
She and her colleagues will compare images of cholinergic regions in healthy people with those who have Alzheimer's during the three years research project.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America, based in Manhattan, was so fascinated by DeLorenzo's investigation, that she was awarded a grant of $ 206,184 to conduct the pilot study.
"We see this as a possible game changer, as a new ambitious one and an innovative research initiative, "said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., President and CEO of the Foundation.
DeLorenzo's research was funded because it could ultimately help refine the methods of choosing the most effective treatments, Fuschillo said.
But while the Stony Brook investigation attracts attention, doctors are spared the low number of Alzheimer's drugs.
In recent years, all Alzheimer's drugs have failed in clinical trials, a pattern that was widely used in the 21st century. Between 2002 and 2012, more than 400 studies were initiated for Alzheimer's drugs, but only one drug – Namenda – was approved.
DeLorenzo claims that clinical failure attempts are due to a lack of understanding of the basic biology of Alzheimer's disease She and her team are approaching.
"The whole field is moving in the direction that we need to understand what's going on biologically, even before we see symptoms," she said.