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 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.
PREMIUM CONTENT: The Alzheimer’s Gene Puzzle – Genetic Links To Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (Part 1)
Genetic risk factors to Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (LOAD) are significant. A recent study of nearly 12,000 Swedish twin pairs, age 65 and older, determined that 58% to 79% of Alzheimer’s risk is genetic. This study showed that in male identical twins, when one brother had Alzheimer’s disease, the other developed the disease 45% of the time. In female identical twins, when one sister had Alzheimer’s disease, the other developed the disease 60% of the time. While this study did not delve into specific gene influences in LOAD, numerous studies have identified Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4), as a prominent genetic risk factor for LOAD. About 25% of the population has one copy of the ApoE4 gene and individuals with the the ApoE4 gene are estimated to make up approximately 40%-80% of the Alzheimer’s disease population.
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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!”
“Absolutely the BEST article I have read on the insulin/AD connection. As always, your brilliance is very much appreciated!”
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“Thank you so much for this well written article. Looking forward to future updates. Thanks for this well illustrated, researched, and detailed yet succinct article.”