Scientists Discover Cell Stress That Can Restore Brain Proteins Associated With Dementia

© AP Photo / Matt RourkeDecima Assise, who has Alzheimer's disease, and Harry Lomping walk the halls, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, at The Easton Home in Easton, Pa
Decima Assise, who has Alzheimer's disease, and Harry Lomping walk the halls, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, at The Easton Home in Easton, Pa - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Cells affected by Alzheimer's disease become gluey on the outside and stick together to form a cellular plaque that is believed to kill brain cells and lead to dementia. Scientists still have many questions about the causes of the disease and the ways it can be cured, but new research offers hope for a cure.
Scientists from the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Cambridge have discovered that certain kinds of stress, like high body temperature, can reverse the abnormal buildup of proteins in the brain that is usually found in patients with dementia, according to a study published in Nature Communications.
This phenomenon cites earlier research, which showed that people who frequented saunas in Finland were less likely to experience dementia.
Scientists have warned that the study, funded in part by the Alzheimer's Society, is in its early stages. Heat shock, which affects abnormal protein aggregations, can also cause brain cell-killing stress, the study says. Researchers are now looking for a way to provoke a similar reaction in the brain but without harmful consequences.
“Optimistically, in the future we could find a drug to awaken this mechanism we have discovered and prevent diseases like dementia,” said leading author of the study Dr. Edward Avezov.
Associate director of research for the Alzheimer's Society, Richard Oakley, said the study is a “game-changer for dementia research.” According to him, this is “step towards effective and safe treatments” for people with dementia.
Professor Tara Spires-Jones of the University of Edinburgh said that this, “study adds to previous work which similarly showed stressing cells with cold instead of heat can protect them from misfolded proteins. But a drug which targets these mechanisms is likely to be many years away.”
MRI scanning - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.03.2022
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In 2017, an international team of researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Bristol found that regular sauna use reduces the risk of developing dementia.
Proceeding from the knowledge that the vascular disease is one of the risk factors for age-related cognitive decline, they decided to examine the link between blood circulation and dementia as it has been already proved that sauna use can improve blood circulation by stimulating the hemodynamic function of blood vessels, even in patients with heart failure, and reducing blood pressure.
Researchers analyzed 2,315 health profiles of male Finns divided into three groups: those who visited the sauna once, two, and three times a week and those who went to the sauna more often. Dementia and Alzheimer's were diagnosed in 204 participants who used a sauna less frequently compared to the 123 participants who used it more.
Those who used the sauna frequently (four to seven times a week) had a 66% lower risk of developing dementia and a 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's.
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