Researchers found an enzyme fluid around the brain to be responsible for the dynamics of Alzheimer's evolution. The cognitive decline has been attributed to this enzyme called autotaxin.
The team of scientists from the Iowa State University published a new study suggesting that the higher the levels of this enzyme, the most probable the chances of developing memory impairment and type 2 diabetes.
Enzyme Associated With Alzheimer's And Type 2 Diabetes
The fluctuations in the levels of the enzyme don't even have to be massive in order to produce health problems. According to the study, a unit is enough to trigger memory damage. For instance, should the level of this enzyme raise from a level 2 to a level 3, the chances of developing memory loss increase 3.5 to five times.
The research, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, noted that the protein's proximity to the brain is essential when measuring the effects it can have on future patients.
Autotaxin is subjected to research especially when it comes to cancer, but the current study states that it is also an indicator of type 2 diabetes. In the case of this disease, one unit fluctuation can account for a 300 percent increase in the possibility of developing at least a pre-diabetic condition.
"We've been looking for metabolic biomarkers which are closer to the brain. We're also looking for markers that reliably scale up with the disease and have consistently higher levels across the Alzheimer's spectrum. This is as directly inside of the brain as we can get without taking a tissue biopsy," noted Auriel Willette, graduate assistant at the Iowa State University.
Physical Connection Between Type 2 Diabetes And Memory Loss
Moreover, the researchers found a connection between type 2 diabetes and memory loss due to the presence of the protein in higher levels. This suggests that people who are in better physical health are less likely to be affected by the diseases. Consequently, obese people are more prone to having the protein in higher quantities, which makes them easier targets for both these types of affections.
The research also underlines that the levels of autotaxin can be correlated to the amount of energy that it takes the brains to function in the areas that are affected by Alzheimer's. According to the study, people who had higher levels of the protein also had fewer brain cells in the temporal and frontal lobes.
Previous research on different enzymes located in the brain area found that there are different functions they can have for the well-being of the human body. For instance, a research conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine accidentally found a nerve cell type that seems to control a mouse's feeding behavior and tells it to stop eating.