By Ralph Sanchez, MTCM, CNS, D.Hom.
Recently (11/13), a rare variant of the TREM2 gene, designated as R47H, was shown to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals with the variant may be up to 3 to 5 times more likely to develop Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD). This susceptibility to LOAD in R47H genotypes, is similar to that conferred by the ApoE4 gene.
The TREM2 gene is involved in immune regulatory processes in the brain and the R47H mutation impairs the gene’s ability to contain inflammation. One of the roles of the TREM2 gene is to aid the brain in efficiently eliminating beta amyloid; the toxic protein that forms plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The area of the brain that is most severely affected in Alzheimer’s is the hippocampus. This area of the brain is responsible for turning information into memory. It is a crucial area for the fromation of new memory. As the hippocampus deteriorates from the disease processes associated with Alzheimer’s, the ability to make new memories vital to everyday tasks, are lost. Information processing and memory retention in the hippocampus is dependent on new brain cells (neurons) growing and establishing new connections. Recent research now reveals that exposures to lead can alter the normal development of newly born neurons (neurogenesis) in this part of the brain vital to learning and memory. (1)
The role of chronic inflammation in degenerative disease associated with aging, is considered to be a primary vector for the progression of said diseases, and a powerful factor that underlies their etiology. One needs only to look at the leading causes of mortality, heart disease and stroke, and the research models of inflammation that clearly link it to the pathogenesis, and the pathology of these disease processes, to understand that inflammation, and chronic degenerative disease are inseparable.
Since inflammation is central to degenerative disease processes, it has been heavily investigated in models of neurodegeneration. In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the investigation has sought to clarify whether inflammation is a causative stimulus, or a concomitant feature of the disease. Regardless of the etiological focus, inflammation in AD is a well established entity, and the continuing illumination of that knowledge base, is vital to our intent to hopefully prevent, delay, or to develop medical strategies for treatment.
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The study of plant and fruit polyphenols, a rich source of dietary antioxidants, represents one of the most promising areas of research in the field of anti-aging, and the prevention of degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Recent and ongoing research indicates that polyphenols present in berries and other fruits and vegetables provide protective and supportive nourishment to critical structures (i.e. hippocampus) in the brain responsible for learning, and memory formation and retention.
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“What a tremendous resource! Thank you for putting all of this great research in one place! I am also extremely interested in warding off a family history of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Medicine can be so very powerful when we are able to identify the biochemical inefficiencies, apply specific dietary and nutritional remedies and compile a protocol to heal not just an individual, but generations. Thank you Ralph!”~Reader
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