A new scientific study claims to have identified a potential target for drug treatment in people with Alzheimer's disease.
In an article in the journal of the Federation of American Societies, researchers claim that a protein associated with Alzheimer's stimulates a receptor deep in the membrane of neurons.
Stimulation of the beta-2 adrengic receptor leads to increased activity in the neurons, causing cell death, according to the study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois.
The findings provide some explanation for the fact that patients taking beta-blockers for other conditions have seen their dementia symptoms slow down.
Study leader professor Charles Cox says the next step in the research is to target this receptor with specific drug treatments to see if the cell damage caused by this process can be slowed, or even prevented.
By 2025, the Alzheimer's Society expects there to be over one million people living with the condition in the UK, while women are expected to account for two-thirds of this number.
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