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Dementia-like brain disordersPreventing and slowing down dementia-like brain disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and others, is one of the main focuses of today’s scientists and researches, and a great deal of new ideas and findings related to dementia-like conditions are being published nowadays. In particular, curcumin has been recently reported as one of the best herbal remedies for improving our brain function ans preventing dementia. Also, a natural component found in red wine has shown potential in prevention the development of Alzheimer’s disease. A few weeks ago, more of related findings were published.

A group of experts at Canada’s Simon Fraser University (SFU), led by David Vocadlo, chemistry professor, proposed a hypothesis that maintaining proper levels of sugar in brain can be an effective tool to slow down and prevent dementia-like brain disorders. For their experiments, the experts used a specially designed inhibitor called Thiamet-G which was able to prevent a certain enzyme O-GlcNAcase naturally occurring in human brain and know for its property to take away essential sugar molecules from Tau proteins. Alzheimer's DiseaseThe described chemical process usually causes neurodegeneration and creates a perfect environment for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.

There is an abundance of Tau proteins in central nervous system and brain, and one of the functions of these compounds is stabilizing microtubules, special structures in human brain, which control intracellular transport. Previous researches have shown that early stages of Alzheimer’s disease are characterized with certain clumping of Tau proteins, and the more clumping takes place, the more severe the disease is. Tests with lab rats have shown that in Alzheimer’s brain, Tau protein clumps have very small amounts of sugar since the enzyme O-GlcNAcase takes sugar molecules away.

This approach is pretty overwhelming with its simplicity, many experts say, and hopefully, this hypothesis will receive a proper scientific support and show a way for creating a new approach to treat and prevent dementia-like brain disorders. This is vital since to date there are no treatments to slow (Alzheimers) progression, David Vocadlo, the study leader, commented to the mass media. We need to develop better inhibitors of the enzyme and test them in mice. Once we have better inhibitors, they can be clinically tested, he continued. Read more about these interesting findings in the latest issue of scientific journal Nature Chemical Biology, or in the website of Simon Fraser University.

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