Although the number of individuals diagnosed with the disease Alzheimer’s is currently increasing progressively and exponentially, the cause of this neurodegenerative disorder is still unknown. Initially, blame was placed on the beta-amyloid proteins and later on the tau proteins. These both remain a sign of the disease, although their specific analysis is not commonly used as a diagnosis.
Now, recently, new research points to a totally different origin to the brain: The Liver. At least, so say those responsible for the new work presented at the International Conference of the Alzheimer’s Association 2018 (AAIC held recently in Chicago.
New research on Alzheimer’s:
According to the new research, there would be molecules called plasmalogens, produced by the liver that would confer protection to the brain. If these substances were not produced correctly, cognitive deficits would occur, such as dementia in general or Alzheimer’s in particular.
Plasmalogens are a class of lipids or fats. Some subtypes of these molecules help the correct functioning of the neuronal junctions or synapses so that a smaller number of them could cause problems. Therefore, the researchers set out to investigate whether the reduced levels of certain plasmalogens could actually increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.
The liver as a collaborator in Alzheimer’s:
In fact, this would not be the first research that would have linked the liver to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. For example, during the past year 2011, a study already linked the liver to this disease by detecting that this organ is responsible for expressing a gene whose role would be key in the progress of beta-amyloid protein.
Another work, published in 2010 in Plos ONE, detected that an enzyme produced by the liver would be responsible for protecting the brain against neurodegenerative lesions. And, if this enzyme does not occur normally, brain metabolism would be affected. Again, the liver would have been responsible for protecting the brain, as in the current study.
Finally, other studies have come to relate the effects of diet on the liver directly and on the brain indirectly. Another study conducted in 2016 came to suggest an association between non-alcoholic fatty liver, a metabolic problem on the rise today and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Even so, for the time being, those responsible for the current work do not assure that the liver can cause cognitive problems but they do suggest that future research should focus on finding other causal routes of the disease, in order to improve the approach and treatment of Alzheimer’s.