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Alzheimer’s: a gene that protects against the disease discovered

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Alzheimer’s: a gene that protects against the disease discovered

New therapies against Alzheimer’s. A gene protects against Alzheimer’s by preventing the disease from developing in the brain. The news comes from a study by Columbia University, which explains how the risk could drop to 70 percent. You can read the results in the scientific journal Acta Neuropathologica.

New therapies against Alzheimer’s: the role of fibronectin

The researchers analyzed data from more than 11,000 people and discovered a gene that produces fibronectin, capable of acting as a real barrier against the development of the disease. In particular, it is found in the blood-brain barrier, a membrane that surrounds the blood vessels of the brain. Practically they increase the ability to cleanse the brain of toxinswhich are risk factors for neurodegenerative pathology.


The research group hopes to be able to develop new types of therapies capable of mimicking the protective effect of the gene to prevent or treat the disease. Fibronectin is present in the blood-brain barrier in very limited quantities. It is found in large quantities in people with Alzheimer’s.

It works in the animal model. Human trials are now awaited

The researchers then also analyzed the situation in zebrafish and mice. The work team discovered that
reducing fibronectin in animals decreased amyloidwhich is one of the factors that increase the risk of the disease.

The study was defined as interesting by the scientific community because focuses on protective factors for neurodegenerative diseases. We know that Alzheimer’s is a sum of degenerative processes that they also begin several years before the onset of symptoms. Studies on early diagnosis are focusing on some markers that can reveal the onset of the pathology well in advance, so that interventions can be made.

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New therapies against Alzheimer’s: a drug against HIV appears effective

Then there is a drug that is used on those with HIV infection. During the experimentation the researchers realized that those who took this medicine, which blocks the activity of a “reverse transcriptase” enzyme, had a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s. This enzyme allows the AIDS virus to establish itself in the body.

In this case the researchers analyzed the data of approximately 80 thousand HIV-positive people aged 60 and over. Half of them had taken this drug for at least three years.

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