Sep 6, 2010

Study Finds "Brain Rust" as a Cause of Alzheimer's Disease

According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr. Ashley Bush and his research team at the University of Melbourne have found that there is an imbalance of zinc and iron in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

They say this causes an accumulation of “brain rust”.

By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Dr. Bush says his research is “the most in-depth series of biochemical discoveries about Alzheimer’s disease and its causes to date.” The study will be published later this month in the Journal Cell.

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According to Bush,
“as zinc was seen to accumulate in amyloid it blocked the APP [amyloid precursor protein] from performing its critical, and previously unknown, job of exporting iron out of the brain’s neurons. This led to a build-up of iron in the grey matter. . . The brain is an unusual organ in that it has very high concentrations of metals which it uses for its electrical chemistry.”

Dr. Bush said his research still did not “reveal the complete picture of the cause of Alzheimer’s disease”, but that it did show an important “corner piece of the jigsaw puzzle.”

Dr. Bush’s biotechnology firm, Prana, is working on a new approach to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The drug being developed, PBT2, is aimed at trying to restore normal levels of metals in the brain. He also said it would probably take another 3 years to develop this drug.

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Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room