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Identifying the Molecular Roots of Alzheimer’s

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine shed some light on Alzheimer’s disease. An extensive study found mutations in a specific protein known as TREM2, which may be responsible for the formation of this type of dementia. Scientists work day and night to look for a cure and better serve seniors with Alzheimer’s, and the Rhode Island home care professionals at Home Care Assistance want to share their findings.

TREM2 is found in the nervous system and is integrated into microglia cells. These cells remove excessive amounts of toxins, which can build up and cause neurological deterioration. Harmful amyloid beta plaque can be engulfed and processed by microglia. This type of plaque causes memory loss in people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. Mutation in TREM2 can hinder the capabilities of microglia to properly remove amyloid beta and other cellular waste. 

Curing Alzheimer’s disease may involve manipulation of TREM2 and microglia cells, and scientists still do not know how to precisely control these cells on a molecular scale. Restructuring a protein that can randomly mutate for unknown reasons remains a challenge. It is also difficult to manage the activity of central nervous system cells since a CNS cell cannot regenerate on its own. The latest biotechnology has yet to produce stem cells capable of maturing into functional nerve cells. 

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine are hopeful someone will eventually find a way to alter the molecular structure of TREM2. Perhaps the pharmaceutical industry will develop a drug to keep this protein intact.

While the cure for Alzheimer’s is still being researched, there are ways aging adults can slow cognitive decline. Rhode Island Alzheimer’s care experts at Home Care Assistance offer healthy meal preparation, regular exercise, and mental and social stimulation to boost mental health and wellbeing in seniors and delay the onset of dementia. To learn about our patent Cognitive Therapeutics Method for seniors or to hire a professional caregiver for your aging parent or grandparent, call us today at (401) 284-0979.