Major cause of dementia discovered

The work follows on from Cooper''s earlier studies, which identified metabolic linkages between Huntington''s, other neurodegenerative diseases and type-2 diabetes.

PTI
London, Publish Date: Dec 12 2017 11:46PM | Updated Date: Dec 12 2017 11:46PM
Major cause of dementia discovered

The build-up of urea in the brain to toxic levels can lead to brain damage and eventually dementia, according to a study that confirms the major cause of the neurodegenerative disease.

The finding has important implications for possible treatment and diagnosis of dementia, according to Professor Garth Cooper from The University of Manchester in the UK.

The work follows on from Cooper's earlier studies, which identified metabolic linkages between Huntington's, other neurodegenerative diseases and type-2 diabetes.

The study, published in the journal PNAS, shows that Huntington's Disease - one of seven major types of age- related dementia - is directly linked to brain urea levels and metabolic processes.

Their previous study revealing that urea is similarly linked to Alzheimer's, shows that the discovery could be relevant to all types of age-related dementias.

The Huntington's study also showed that the high urea levels occurred before dementia sets in, which could help doctors to diagnose and even treat dementia, well in advance of its onset.

Urea and ammonia in the brain are metabolic breakdown products of protein.

Urea is more commonly known as a compound which is excreted from the body in urine. If urea and ammonia build up in the body because the kidneys are unable to eliminate them, for example, serious symptoms can result.

"This study on Huntington's Disease is the final piece of the jigsaw which leads us to conclude that high brain urea plays a pivotal role in dementia," said Cooper.

"Alzheimer's and Huntington's are at opposite ends of the dementia spectrum - so if this holds true for these types, then I believe it is highly likely it will hold true for all the major age-related dementias," said Cooper.

"More research, however, is needed to discover the source of the elevated urea in HD, particularly concerning the potential involvement of ammonia and a systemic metabolic defect, he said.

This could have profound implications for our fundamental understanding of the molecular basis of dementia, and its treatability, including the potential use of therapies already in use for disorders with systemic urea phenotypes, researchers said.

Dementia results in a progressive and irreversible loss of nerve cells and brain functioning, causing loss of memory and cognitive impairments affecting the ability to learn. Currently, there is no cure, researchers said.

The team used human brains, donated by families for medical research, as well as transgenic sheep in Australia, they said. PTI 

Latest News

  1. Omar Abdullah calls heckling video ‘tamasha’, says Berkeley session was 'great, substantial'
  2. Omar Abdullah calls heckling video ‘tamasha’, says Berkeley session was 'great, substantial'
  1. Delhi based designer Leena Singh dedicates her 2018 collection to Kashmiri craftsmen
  2. Delhi based designer Leena Singh dedicates her 2018 collection to Kashmiri craftsmen
  1. Biker, two accomplices arrested for forcibly stopping scooty rider in Bhadarwah
  2. Biker, two accomplices arrested for forcibly stopping scooty rider in Bhadarwah
  1. Mulling changing law to award death to sexual assaulters of kids: Govt
  2. Mulling changing law to award death to sexual assaulters of kids: Govt
  1. Incessant rains, strong winds damage orchards and property in south Kashmir
  2. Incessant rains, strong winds damage orchards and property in south Kashmir
  1. India, Pak trade fire along LoC in Nowshera
  2. India, Pak trade fire along LoC in Nowshera
  1. ‘Wake up your conscience’, legislator Rasheed asks Jammu and Kashmir police
  2. ‘Wake up your conscience’, legislator Rasheed asks Jammu and Kashmir police
  1. Mirwaiz demands justice for Kathua minor, reopening of Kashmir rape cases since 1990
  2. Mirwaiz demands justice for Kathua minor, reopening of Kashmir rape cases since 1990
  1. Prashant Bhushan files complaint against BJP leader who claimed torching Rohingya settlements in Delhi
  2. Prashant Bhushan files complaint against BJP leader who claimed torching Rohingya settlements in Delhi
  1. Nine-year-old raped, killed in Uttar Pradesh
  2. Nine-year-old raped, killed in Uttar Pradesh
  1. Seven parties submit notice to impeach Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra
  2. Seven parties submit notice to impeach Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra
  1. Mobile Internet service snapped in Rajouri after protests over boy's death
  2. Mobile Internet service snapped in Rajouri after protests over boy's death
  1. Kulgam boy putting up at Barzulla found dead, police begins probe
  2. Kulgam boy putting up at Barzulla found dead, police begins probe
  1. Army commanders discuss Kashmir situation
  2. Army commanders discuss Kashmir situation
  1. Former Delhi HC Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar passes away
  2. Former Delhi HC Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar passes away
  1. Internet services suspended in Srinagar
  2. Internet services suspended in Srinagar
  1. Renowned Kashmir cardiologist Dr Sajad Reshi passes away
  2. Renowned Kashmir cardiologist Dr Sajad Reshi passes away
  1. PDP constitutes political affairs committee
  2. PDP constitutes political affairs committee
  1. Rail blockade at Chengail in West Bengal on Kathua rape case
  2. Rail blockade at Chengail in West Bengal on Kathua rape case
  1. SC seeks AG's help on media gag on CJI impeachment
  2. SC seeks AG's help on media gag on CJI impeachment
  1. Naroda Patiya massacre: Gujarat HC acquits ex-BJP minister Kodnani, convicts Babu Bajrangi
  2. Naroda Patiya massacre: Gujarat HC acquits ex-BJP minister Kodnani, convicts Babu Bajrangi
  1. JKLF Chief Yasin Malik detained in Srinagar
  2. JKLF Chief Yasin Malik detained in Srinagar
  1. Omar takes dig at Dy CM, accuses BJP of playing politics over Kathua rape and murder
  2. Omar takes dig at Dy CM, accuses BJP of playing politics over Kathua rape and murder
  1. Video | Fresh snowfall in higher reaches of Kashmir, rains lash plains
  2. Video | Fresh snowfall in higher reaches of Kashmir, rains lash plains
  1. Muslims observe shutdown in Chenab valley to demand speedy trial in Kathua case
  2. Muslims observe shutdown in Chenab valley to demand speedy trial in Kathua case
  1. Sonamarg-Zojila road closed for traffic after fresh snowfall
  2. Sonamarg-Zojila road closed for traffic after fresh snowfall
  1. UN staff increasingly becomes target of attack: Guterres
  2. UN staff increasingly becomes target of attack: Guterres
  1. Mughal road closed for traffic after landslide
  2. Mughal road closed for traffic after landslide
  1. Qatar approves draft law on property ownership by foreigners
  2. Qatar approves draft law on property ownership by foreigners
  1. Scientists find way to bend, stretch diamond
  2. Scientists find way to bend, stretch diamond