Home » Alzheimer, the first symptoms (related to myelin) that may indicate that you suffer from the disease. The Spanish study

Alzheimer, the first symptoms (related to myelin) that may indicate that you suffer from the disease. The Spanish study

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Alzheimer, the first symptoms (related to myelin) that may indicate that you suffer from the disease.  The Spanish study

The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s could be linked to the alteration of myelin, a substance that surrounds the neurons, facilitating their…

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The first symptoms that you suffer from Alzheimer could be related to the alteration of the myelin, a substance that surrounds neurons, facilitating their communication. This is the discovery of a recent Spanish study. It has long been known as NoIn the brain of patients affected by neurogenerative disease, the deposition of the amyloid protein and the death of neurons, located in the so-called gray matter, are observed. However, radiological examinations also show damage to the white matter, i.e. that part of the brain which is instead mainly made up of myelin.

Alzheimer’s, the first symptoms (related to myelin): the study

A group of Spanish researchers brought together 387 elderly people carriers of the ApoE4 genotypethe main genetic risk factor for the condition, or had first-degree relatives who have suffered from this disease. The participants ranged in age from 55 to 75 years. A non-causal choice, given that Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of neurological disability in people from over the age of 65.

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The results

The results of the research, published in the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, revealed that people showing the two risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease have changes in intercortical myelin. Llesions that occur in the brain up to 10 years before the first symptoms appear. “Before the memory problems start,” one of the researchers tells El Espanol newspaper.

What is myelin and how does it affect

These early lesions greatly affect neuronal functioning and brain circuits that control both memory and other higher cognitive functions. “The first lesions of the disease are the beta-amyloid protein aggregates, which in turn affect the cortical myelitis,” continues the researcher. Myelin is a lipoprotein substance that surrounds nerve fibers. Cortical myelin changes could become a way to detect Alzheimer’s in its early stages.

The discovery

How did it turn out? The presence of cortical myelin was indirectly estimated in each of the individuals participating in the study with brain magnetic resonance images whose contrast was shown to be sensitive to myelin. “The group that had the most myelin alterations was the one that showed both risk factors,” says Cantero, director of the research.

Possible therapies

But cortical myelin changes aren’t yet another risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Yes, there is scientific evidence that people with the ApoE4 genotype and a family history develop the disease more frequently. Thus, changes in cortical myelin could be a very early marker of brain damage in people with these risk factors. “These people could benefit from cognitive stimulation programs – proposes Cantero – or from the non-invasive application of direct brain stimulation to regions of the cortex with myelin alterations”.

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