Daily News: Aging

Scientists crack Alzheimer's protease structure

Baluchistan Express, The

07-08-14

Scientists have been able to crack the structure of the protease complex, which has been identified as one of the causes of Alzheimer's disease.

The research team from China's Tsinghua University has been studying the structure of gamma secretase, as the protease is known, for 10 years, Press TV reported.

The dysfunction of gamma secretase can generate an excessive amount of the peptide of amino acids known as Abeta 42. The peptide will deposit around neurons responsible for human thinking and memory and eventually kill them.

The Alzheimer's disease is considered as an incurable and fatal degenerative disease.

According to incomplete statistics, there are about five million patients of Alzheimer's disease in China, accounting for a quarter of the total number in the world.

A recent study also showed that proper sleep at night helps clean out the protein, whose accumulation has been associated with the affliction of Alzheimer's disease.

The study's lead author said frequent sleep irregularity could lead to accumulation of the amyloid-beta protein. It is generally thought that the protein's plaques play an important role in the disease's occurrence.

Dr. Jurgen Claassen, from Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, Netherland, said, "We think normal healthy sleep helps reduce the amount of (amyloid) beta in the brain and if your sleep is disturbed this decrease is prevented."

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