A recent study published in the Aging and Mechanisms of Disease suggests that there is hope for Alzheimer’s patients.
One of the main components of the disease is beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid is a toxic protein that, in Alzheimer’s patients, collects in the brain and forms plaque. This plaque disrupts signals from the neurons in the brain and presents as the symptoms of the disease.
Inflammation is also a key component of the disease, and until now, scientists thought that the inflammation was due to an immune response. They now believe it is coming directly from the nerve cells.
The nerve cells produce a chemical much like THC (called cannabinoids), and experts think that this compound prevents cell death. The researchers then thought to test out the theory that the THC in marijuana could do the same.
Here’s how marijuana is helping with these symptoms: the THC in marijuana is breaking up or removing the plaque that is forming in the brain and thereby opens up the communication lines between the neurons and the brain and nervous system. As a result of this, the inflammation in the brain is also reduced.
The experiments were conducted on nerve cells produced in the lab, but hopefully, clinic trials will happen sooner rather than later. This appears to be a breakthrough that could have an astounding impact on the Alzheimer’s community.
It is estimated that five million people are afflicted with this disease and it is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly population. The Alzheimer’s rate is expected to triple in the next 50 years.
It is imperative that we find effective ways to treat this disease and the debilitating effects it has on those who suffer from it, and their loved ones who are forced to watch their family members slip away right in front of them.
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