New Study Suggests Alzheimer’s May Be an Autoimmune Disease
Alzheimer’s disease has been known as a disease of the brain. However, McKnight’s reports that recent research suggests otherwise. Alzheimer’s may be a result of an autoimmune disease.
The study was conducted at the University of Toronto by Donald F. Weaver of Krembil Research Institute. Research included study of patent and journal literatures through various search algorithms. The end result was as “an innovative broadly encompassing model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that harmonizes multiple divergent theories into a unified comprehensive explanation.”
Weaver stated, “The findings led to an integrated new molecular model for AD: “Alzheimer’s disease as an autoimmune disease (‘AD2’). In AD2, AD is a brain-centric disorder of innate immunity involving concurrent autoimmune and autoinflammatory mechanisms.”
The study focused on the role of amyloid beta protein in Alzheimer’s disease. The protein is released from the brain after a pathogen or damage-related event as an antimicrobial or autoimmune response. Such events that trigger its release can include pollution, trauma, infection or stroke. The assumption is that the protein’s properties result as an attack on “self” neurons in the brain due to electrophysiological similarities between bacteria and neurons. This can cause additional release of the protein which ultimately causes an ongoing cycle of breaking the brain’s neurons.
The research concluded that Alzheimer’s disease is a complex ailment that should be treated with existing medications and new treatments. The new treatments should focus targeting the autoimmune aspect of the disease.
Weaver wrote, “Indeed, it has been suggested for other neurological disorders, there may be a need to devise selectively non-selective drugs (“dirty drugs” acting as a magic shotgun rather than a magic bullet) that therapeutically interact with several complementary molecular targets.”
Cornerstone Rehab clinicians understand the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease and provide compassionate, tailored care to residents in skilled nursing facilities who may have this diagnosis. Read more about how prolonged loneliness impacts loss of memory.