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Vaccine for Alzheimer’s Disease

  • 12 Jun 2019
  • 3 min read

Dr. Kiran Bhaskar (an Indian-American scientist at the University of New Mexico) led team has developed an early version vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Vaccine intervention could rescue memory impairments and prevent neurons from dying by reducing tau tangles in parts of the brain that are critical to memory and learning.
  • The vaccine uses virus-like particles (VLP) that helps mice to develop antibodies to get rid of tau tangles in them, which are responsible for breeding symptoms of Alzheimer’s in humans also.
  • Tau is a protein that when it occurs in tangled formations in the brain of Alzheimer patients, disrupts the ability of neurons to communicate with one another in the brain.
  • Body’s immune system is capable of generating antibodies that are responsible for eliminating tau tangles.

Alzheimer’s

  • Alzheimer's disease is a neurological disorder which causes brain cells to degenerate and die. This leads to loss of memory, problems with words in speaking or writing, poor judgment, changes in mood and personality, confusion with time or place, etc.
    • At the first stage, these symptoms are mild but they become more severe with time.
  • Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
    • Dementia is a group of brain disorders that cause the loss of intellectual and social skills.
  • It is caused by the build-up of proteins known as tangles or plaques within the brain and is also known as the third type of diabetes.
  • Ageing is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease but sometimes symptoms may occur at the age of 30s or so because of rare genetic changes in the people.
  • Alzheimer’s is an incurable disease, as the death of brain cells cannot be reversed.
  • Women have a higher risk of having Alzheimer’s disease than men.
    • According to the US Department of Health and Human Services nearly twice as many women have Alzheimer’s disease as men.

Fact and Findings

  • India houses more than 4 million people suffering from some form of dementia and this number is set to triple by 2050.
    Worldwide, at least 44 million people are living with dementia, making the disease a global health crisis that must be addressed.
  • Western countries report a high rate of Alzheimer’s, mainly on account of better diagnosis compared to countries like India where it is often ignored as a natural process of ageing.
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