Study: Antioxidant imbalance early indicator of Alzheimer’s

Once thought to be caused by the disease, research now shows it can be a warning sign

The First New Alzheimer's Drug, in 20 Years, Has Been Approved in the United States.Regulators in the United States have approved the first new treatment for Alzheimer's disease in nearly 20 years.The BBC reports that the new drug, Aducanumab, targets the underlying cause of Alzheimer's rather than its symptoms.The newly approved drug targets amyloid, a protein that forms abnormal clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer's that can damage cells and lead to dementia.The decision reportedly paves the way for the drug to receive approval in the U.K.However, scientists remain divided over Aducanumab's potential impact due to uncertainty over the trial results.Late-stage trials of the drug were halted in 2019, when analysis showed it was not slowing the deterioration of memory and thinking problems. .Later that year, U.S. manufacturer Biogen reportedly concluded the drug did work, as long as it was administered in higher doses. .The BBC reports that the US Food and Drug Administration said there was "substantial evidence that aducanumab reduces amyloid beta plaques in the brain.".They added this "is reasonably likely to predict important benefits to patients."

An oxidation-antioxidant imbalance in the blood might not be caused by Alzheimer’s, reseachers at Québec’s Institut national de la recherche scientifique said. Instead, it may be an early indicator of the disease.

Ph.D student Mohamed Raâfet Ben Khedher and postdoctoral researcher Mohamed Haddad showed that “oxidative markers, known to be involved in Alzheimer’s disease, show an increase up to five years before the onset of the disease. The results of this study, published in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring (DADM) journal, suggest that oxidation may be an early marker of this disease,” the institute wrote.

Professor Charles Ramassamy, who oversaw the research, said: “Given that there is an increase in oxidative stress in people who develop the disease, we may regulate the antioxidant systems. For example, we could modulate the antioxidant systems, such as apolipoproteins J and D, which transport lipids and cholesterol in the blood and play an important role in brain function and Alzheimer’s disease. Another avenue would be to increase the intake of antioxidants through nutrition.”

The research team stated the markers they discovered can be detected by a simple blood test instead of the invasive — and expensive — procedures now in place. The markers, they wrote, are found in plasma extracellular vesicles, which are pockets released by all cells in the body, including those in the brain.

The research team focused on “sporadic” Alzheimer’s, the most common form of the disease.

“By identifying oxidative markers in the blood of individuals at risk five years before the onset of the disease, we could make recommendations to slow the onset of the disease and limit the risks,” the scientists wrote.

Once Alzheimer’s symptoms appear, they noted, the disease is nearly impossible to reverse.

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