Alzheimer's Disease Could Be Tackled by Treating the Liver of Sufferers,
So They Can Dispose of a Toxic Protein Linked to the Illness

Scientists believe that helping the liver to clear amyloid-beta protein from the blood could provide a new way of combating the devastating effects of Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia.

Alzheimer's, which causes progressive loss of memory and mental faculties, affects almost 417,000 people in Britain, including fantasy author Terry Pratchett who is campaigning for more research into the disease.

A key characteristic of the disease is the accumulation of neuron-damaging amyloid-beta (A-beta) in the brain.

New research shows that levels of the protein in the brain are affected by their levels in the peripheral blood stream.

Scientists in the US and Hong Kong manipulated the livers of laboratory rats to increase blood levels of amyloid-beta. One of the liver's primary jobs is to remove toxic substances from the blood stream.

The researchers found that raising A-beta blood levels slowed down the speed at which molecules of the protein were swept from the rats' brains.

The findings, reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, support the theory that freely circulating amyloid-beta concentrations outside the brain can regulate clearance rates inside the central nervous system.

Dr David Cook, from the University of Washington School of Medicine said: "We knew from previous work that the liver plays an important role in removing A-beta from the blood. So, we thought if we temporarily prevented liver-mediated clearance it might be possible to set or 'clamp' peripheral A-beta levels long enough to find out whether A-beta in the blood stream affects A-beta clearance from the brain.

"We were a bit surprised to see how effective this strategy was. Peripheral A-beta clearance immediately halted almost completely. For several years it has been suggested that the circulatory system can act like an A-beta sink. The data clearly show that the liver is the primary drain."

Co-author Dr Sum Lee, from the University of Hong Kong, said: "The liver influences virtually everything that happens in the body, so it is not far-fetched to imagine that in the future it may be possible to find ways to help the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients with their livers."

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "This new study shows us just how complex Alzheimer's disease is, suggesting the liver could be involved in clearing the toxic protein, amyloid, from the blood, which in turn could help amyloid clearance from the brain. This is a key target for many scientists trying to develop new treatments.

"Seven hundred thousand people in the UK have dementia, a devastating condition that affects all aspects of a person's life. We need to invest in research now to offer hope of treatments in the future."

Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Many researchers believe that finding ways to clear beta-amyloid in the brain may be a key to treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's disease.

"This interesting research provides another piece of the jigsaw in our understanding of how beta-amyloid is regulated in the brain. It suggests that, by targeting levels of the amyloid in the bloodstream, we maybe able to regulate the levels of this toxic protein in the brain.

"If proven, this could provide a new treatment target for Alzheimer's. Much more research is needed to fully understand the impact this would have on a person with Alzheimer's."

As you will already be aware from The Alzheimer's Alternative lifestyle changes that lessen the amount of toxins that enter the body make dramatic changes to reducing if not stopping the progression Alzheimer's disease and dementia - and this looks like further proof. Naturally if you reduce the amount of any toxic product in the body the body will work better and thank you for it.

Some of the simplest things to do would be to reduce the amount of "trans" fats in the diet, keep a check on the amount you smoke and drink and reduce the levels of heavy metals you are exposed to. To this list I would also consider adding a supplement of Milk Thistle to help the liver function a little bit better and to act as a protective agent. My recommendation would be a dose of 100mg of active Silymarin extract daily for a month.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Steffan H. Abel D.C. has been involved in Chiropractic and healthcare research for over 20 years. He has run his own successful practice in the north of England for the last 19 years. During which time he has treated over 10,000 patients and given over 100,000 treatments. He has lectured and taught extensively in both Europe and America to students, chiropractors and medical doctors.

He has studied Hypnotherapy, N.L.P. and qualified as a Life Coach. He has also studied various Chiropractic-based treatments (gaining a M.Sc. in post graduate Clinical Chiropractic in 2003) as well as energy therapies such as Seichem and Reiki. In 2001 he became a Fellow of the College of Chiropractors and a Fellow of the Association of Osteomyology and in 2007 became a Fellow of the European Academy of Chiropractic.

In his spare time he spends between 15 and 25 hours per week researching all areas of “alternative” and allopathic healthcare in order to bring the best advice to his patients through his practice and writing and has just finished his latest book The Alzheimer's Alternative ( When not working he is to be found enjoying life with Sue, his partner, – whom he loves tremendously!

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