Hollenbeck Palms

New study helps understand early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

In the ongoing battle against Alzheimer’s disease, a recent study has unveiled a significant stride forward. Researchers have unearthed a groundbreaking finding—a specialized receptor found in immune cells that exhibits a remarkable ability to bind and neutralize the notorious “beta proteins” implicated in the disease’s progression.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline and changes in behavior.

“Beta proteins,” particularly beta-amyloid and tau, are hallmark indicators of Alzheimer’s disease, accumulating in the brain and contributing to the development and progression of the condition. These proteins form plaques and tangles, disrupting neuronal function and ultimately lead to the cognitive symptoms associated with the disease.

The profound impact Alzheimer’s has on individuals and their families underscores the urgent need for ongoing research into prevention and early detection methods. Both are avenues that this discovery could potentially pave.

These findings not only suggest the potential for earlier diagnosis but indicate a possibility of slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers have developed a new method that can one day enable them to monitor disease-related changes at an earlier stage than conventional techniques currently allow. This is particularly significant in the context of Alzheimer’s disease, which progresses gradually over a long period. Typically, treatment interventions begin only when the disease has advanced considerably, making it challenging to slow down its progression.

Inside the discovery

The workings of the peripheral immune system, which serves as a protective barrier against infections, could significantly influence the body’s ability to defend against Alzheimer’s disease. It can do so by blocking the build-up of those harmful proteins in the brain. Early discoveries indicate that these protein clusters might adhere to the walls of blood vessels in the brain, drawing immune cells to the region.

Activating the body’s immune system in the initial phases of the disease could potentially decelerate its progression before reaching advanced stages.

Before making that leap, researchers hope that by deciphering how the immune system fights the disease in its early stages, they can develop therapies capable of intervening much earlier than current treatment options.

To reach the discovery, scientists used a new method involving nanoparticle tracking analysis and quantum dots combined with specific antibodies to detect large protein aggregates in human plasma. They confirmed the method’s accuracy in detecting the aggregates of specific sizes, down to smaller concentrations, with smaller aggregates also being detected effectively.

Next, they needed to understand how the presence of large amyloid beta plasma aggregates is related to Alzheimer’s disease-like brain changes. Testing 52-week-old mice with a genetic mutation linked to Alzheimer’s disease, they found the mice showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease in their brains. Yet, they didn’t find large amyloid beta aggregates in their blood, despite the brain changes.

In the group without big clusters, there were more young classical monocytes, but in the group with large clusters, there were more mature non-classical monocytes. These cells are crucial for fighting infections and traveling through blood vessel walls. This hints that these clusters might influence how these cells function, including the way they respond to disease. The direct implication regarding the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, however, requires more understanding and research.


Hensel Memory Enhancement Center at Hollenbeck Palms

The Hensel Memory Enhancement Center offers professional, compassionate, engaging, and safe support for residents experiencing advanced symptoms of dementia.

As Alzheimer’s disease or other causes of dementia progress, the need for specialized care often arises. This decision to pursue additional support may be challenging for family caregivers. However, the decision to seek assistance can ultimately benefit both the caregiver and their loved ones to an extent that previously seemed impossible.

Our Los Angeles dementia facility features private and shared suites, a spacious dining area and kitchen, activity spaces and a secure garden, providing a nurturing environment for residents. Guided by our renowned dementia care expert Laura Wayman, our staff is trained to communicate and care for residents with empathy and effectiveness. Laura has also imparted dementia awareness training to all staff members within the Hollenbeck Palms community.

At the Hensel Memory Enhancement Center, we prioritize individualized engagement to promote cognitive, physical, spiritual and psychological well-being, ensuring residents receive the support they need in a loving and supportive setting.

For more information, call 323.307.4505, or email [email protected].