Abnormal Amounts of Brain Unsaturated Fatty Acids Might Be Alzheimer’s Tipping Point, Study Suggests

Abnormal Amounts of Brain Unsaturated Fatty Acids Might Be Alzheimer’s Tipping Point, Study Suggests
Abnormal levels of unsaturated fatty acids may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease processes, as researchers found that six of these fats were linked to both brain abnormalities and cognitive symptoms. In people with amyloid-beta plaques but no cognitive problems, the abnormalities were less pronounced, suggesting that when levels of these fatty acids became too abnormal, cognitive symptoms appear. The data supports the theory that Alzheimer’s is largely a metabolic condition — an idea that is currently gaining ground. The study, "Association between fatty acid metabolism in the brain and Alzheimer disease neuropathology and cognitive performance: A nontargeted metabolomic study," was published in the journal PLOS Medicine. Plenty of studies have investigated the typical plaques, made up of amyloid-beta, and tangles containing the protein tau, in Alzheimer’s disease. Because many people have these plaques and tangles without showing cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's, researchers at King's College London in England and colleagues at the National Institute on Aging in Maryland figured other factors may be involved in the onset of symptoms. To better understand how metabolism impacts disease, the research team studied the brains of 14 deceased Alzheimer’s disease patients, 14 healthy people (controls), and 15 people with typical Alzheimer’s brain abnormalities but who had cognitive symptoms while still alive. The team chose an approach called metabolomics, which can
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