SEOUL, July 28 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s medical research team has shed light on the elusive cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Led by Pae Jae-sung, a professor from the medical school and Jin Hee-gyung, a professor from the school of veterinary science in Kyungpook National University, the research team discovered an enzyme called ‘ASM (Acid sphingomyelinase)’ — plenty of them found in brain cells — has something to do with the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, which commissioned the study to the team, announced on July 27 that the ASM enzyme has a related cause to the Alzheimer’s which is still regarded as one of the incurable diseases, including cancer.
Currently, medical researchers reckon that foreign materials accumulated in the neuron cell in abnormal patterns might play a role in causing cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s. However, no fundamental treatment and exact cause regarding the disease has yet to be found.
The research team discovered that there was more amount of ASM enzyme in a patient’s blood with Alzheimer’s compared with the level found in ordinary people. When the researchers suppressed the activation of increased ASM enzyme, they saw a process of foreign materials in the neuron cell being removed which led to less toxicity, resulting in enhanced performance of cognitive capability like memorizing ability.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, whose symptoms worsen as it progresses, and eventually leads to death. Most often, Alzheimer’s is diagnosed with people over 65 years of age, although the less common early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur much earlier. In 2006, there were 26.6 million people worldwide diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is predicted to affect one in 85 people globally by 2050.
By Jerry M. Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)