Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemical Engineers Suggest Alzheimer's Onset Tied To Cholesterol, Brain Chemicals

Date:
December 10, 2001
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
A group of unlikely Alzheimer's researchers -- chemical engineers in Texas A&M University's Dwight Look College of Engineering -- are developing new understanding of how the disease robs Alzheimer's sufferers of their memory and reason. They've also found hints of new ways to eventually prevent its onset.

COLLEGE STATION, December 6 - Few people can look Alzheimer's disease in the face without flinching. Alzheimer's takes from people the things they value most: intellect, emotion, independence, hope -- and eventually, life itself. Now, a group of unlikely Alzheimer's researchers -- chemical engineers in Texas A&M University's Dwight Look College of Engineering -- are developing new understanding of how the disease robs Alzheimer's sufferers of their memory and reason. They've also found hints of new ways to eventually prevent its onset.

Related Articles


Laboratory studies conducted by chemical engineer Theresa Good, an Assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Ph.D. students Dawn L. Rymer and Steven S. Wang, suggest that Alzheimer's onset and the damage it causes to memory and cognitive abilities are tied to two substances: cholesterol (the same cholesterol doctors say people have too much of) and a complex chemical called ganglioside GM-1 -- found in the brain cells it attacks.

Their work centers on an important characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, a build-up of masses of protein, known as senile plaques. These plaques attach, or bind, to neurons -- specialized cells that allow information to move from place to place in the brain. When the plaques attach to the neurons, it causes a biochemical process to begin that eventually kills the neurons. Loss of neurons is what brings on the disease's characteristic loss of memory and cognitive abilities. High levels of either cholesterol or ganglioside GM-1 seem to make it easy for the plaques to attach to neurons.

The good news is that Good's research also suggests that reducing the amount of either cholesterol or ganglioside GM-1 interferes with the plaque's ability to attach to the neurons. In fact, simply reducing the amount of cholesterol in the cells seems to block attachment by almost all of the plaque.

Good and her students used a well-known chemical engineering test called a diffusion study to understand how this process works. They also used analytical techniques such as image analysis and Mathematical modeling of molecules -- techniques more familiar to chemical engineers than biochemists or molecular biologists -- to carry out their studies.

A lot of research remains to be done before the work done by Good and her colleagues is translated into medications that can prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease.

*The results of her studies must be confirmed by other scientists.

*New medications must be developed, and they must be tested in laboratory animals, then in humans.

*Finally, the indications will have to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

In the meantime, what is Good's advice to people who want to boost their odds against developing Alzheimer's? Use diet to reduce cholesterol levels.

"Drink your red wine, eat your oatmeal and throw out your butter," she says.

Additional sources of information:

* http://www-che.tamu.edu/CHEN/Faculty/good/

* http://www-che.tamu.edu/CHEN/Faculty/good/AD.HTM


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Chemical Engineers Suggest Alzheimer's Onset Tied To Cholesterol, Brain Chemicals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011210072308.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2001, December 10). Chemical Engineers Suggest Alzheimer's Onset Tied To Cholesterol, Brain Chemicals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011210072308.htm
Texas A&M University. "Chemical Engineers Suggest Alzheimer's Onset Tied To Cholesterol, Brain Chemicals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011210072308.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins