Malayali researchers pave way for early detection of Alzheimer's disease
Kozhikode: Malayali researchers have developed a system to identify Alzheimer's in its initial stage. Researchers opine that although it cannot be cured completely, an early detection of the disease can help in bringing down the intensity of the disease. The new `bio marker', that would enable an early detection of the disease, was designed by researchers Nimmy Baby and Sajikumar Sreedharan of National University of Singapore. The study was published in the new edition of Aging cell magazine.
Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss caused by aging. It is usually seen among people above the age of 65. In certain cases, the disease can develop as early as 30s or 40s of an individual. But in patients over the age of 65, this can grow twice in intensity after every 5 years. The main reason for this disease is the accumulation of proteins like beta-amyloid in the brain. This can affect the neurons and destroy memory. This condition affects hippocampus in the brain first, which is crucial in the coordination of long term memories. So when Alzheimer’s strikes, the neurons will lose its ability to move and coordination of memories will be made impossible.
Dr. Nimmi and team discovered that it was the deviation in the working of micro-RNA in the hippocampus that leads to the lack of coordination of memory in the patient’s brain. Micro RNA-134-5p is the villainous RNA. This was discovered through experiments done on rats.
‘Non- coding RNAs’, which doesn’t have the ability to transmit information to create proteins unlike regular RNAs, have not featured in any of the studies done in connection with memories until now. The researchers found that the presence of ‘Micro RNA- 134-5P’ in Alzheimer’s patients exceeds the normal limit. Due to the excess working of these RNAs, sufficient proteins required for the activation of memories becomes unavailable.
Dr. Nimmy is the daughter of Ambalappuzha natives Baby Thomas and Salimma. Nimmi , who completed her PhD from Singapore University in 2015, joined Dr. Saji Kumar’s research team in 2016. Nimmy is married to Binoy Chacko, who works in IT sector.
Dr. Saji Kumar, who has been researching on memory molecules for the last two decades, is an Associate Professor in Singapore University. Dr. Kumar, a Harippad native, is married to neuro scientist Dr. Sheeja Navakkode, who is also teaching at Singapore University.