05 April, 2013

A To Z Challenge: Enzymology And Ending Alzheimer's

A human enzyme. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Enzymology is the study of enzymes. Enzymes are complex proteins found in all human cells--they're found in all living cells, in fact--that act as chemical catalysts. They bind to specific substrates to create an enzyme-substrate complex and once the complex is formed they produce a product; enzymes can go on and repeat the reaction many more times with other substrate molecules, i.e. they are reusable.

Last September, an enzyme was discovered that could play a role in treating Alzheimer's Disease. BACE-2 destroys a toxic protein, called beta-amyloid, which is found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. BACE-2 is similar to an enzyme that creates beta-amyloid, BACE-1, but unlike BACE-1 it both prevents and destroys the toxic protein. The discovery it destroys beta-amyloid may lead to a method of treatment or affect how other drugs are administered; some medicines reduce natural levels of BACE-2 in the body, possibly increasing the risk of Alzheimer's.

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Sources:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002353.htm
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/enzymology
http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2012-jax/7087.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917151723.htm
http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20110118/beta-amyloid-may-identify-alzheimers-disease

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Do you think scientists will ever develop a cure for Alzheimer's Disease?


-----The Golden Eagle

27 comments:

Susan Kane said...

What an amazing and important discovery!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, that is an important discovery!

Krispy said...

Fascinating! I'm always so impressed by your participation in the A-Z blogging challenge. Your posts are always so educational!

D.G. Hudson said...

I'd like to think, it's one of those diseases that can be cured.

Mark Means said...

Hopefully, they'll be able to use that to wipe out Alzheimers for good.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Perhaps it's both the cure and the preventative?

Susan Roebuck said...

I do so hope it's a cure. Coincidentally my sister-in-law's just been diagnozed so I hope that this possible cure will be developed fast. It's a terrible disease.

Beth said...

You are so smart. Btw, you will be my feature on Monday.

Carrie K Sorensen said...

I think science is amazing, and there will be a cure one day. Discoveries like the one in your post prove it. As long as people look, they'll find something.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

They call Alzheimer's 'the long goodbye'. Beyond heartbreaking for all concerned. Let's hope a cure has indeed been found.

Pat Hatt said...

Important, heck yeah. But do I think they will ever cure anything, NOPE! World runs on the sick, the rich don't want to give that up.

M Pax said...

It'd be great if they could cure alzheimers. I was reading about the noncellular matrix this morning -- the glue between our cells.

Andrew Leon said...

I think I read about that, but, now, I'm not remembering the details. :/

JeffO said...

Neat. I'm learning so much this month!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think there's a real chance of it. I also hope they find cures for other terrible diseases like ALS and MS.

Pearson Report said...

Great E topic.

As to whether or not scientists will ever develop a cure... I think the actual scientists do try to find cures for what ails humanity, the problem is the cure doesn't make money for the big pharmaceutical companies whereas the drugs prescribe do. So I think not, which is rather sad.


Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT

Christine Rains said...

Very important! I really hope they do. I don't fear something happening to my body as much as I fear losing my mind.

Liz said...

I hope they figure it out.

Trisha F said...

This could be such an important breakthrough - I love science!

Rechelle Owens, Author of Romantic Fiction said...

I really hope that this new discovery is an effective tool for helping to cure Alzheimers for good. I have had two elderly relatives suffer from this debilitating disease and I would hate for anyone or their family to have to live through it.

Jagoda said...

So interesting and hopeful, not to mention how pretty the human enzyme is in that photo.
Fellow A-to-Zer, Jagoda
http://www.conflicttango.com

Nick Wilford said...

Very exciting discovery! I really hope it is viable in treating one of the most devastating conditions.

Paul Tobin said...

I hope they do- my grandmother died of it. Her decline was a feature of my childhood.

Charles Gramlich said...

such a nasty disease. Anything that attacks it would be so welcome.

The Golden Eagle said...

Susan: Indeed!

Alex: It is.

Krispy: Thank you. I try to make them interesting. :)

D.G.: Who knows. This is a step--but there are dozens of steps to go.

Mark: Agreed. Or at least it will become part of treatment.

Diane: Maybe!

Susan: I'm so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law.

Beth: I'm off to check it out! :)

Carrie: I think so, too. There must be some origin to the disease.

Wendy: Or that they find a cure in the very near future!

Pat: It does, in a way. Just look at the rising costs of healthcare--the companies hike up their prices and its the patients who are hit with a larger bill.

Mary: A fascinating subject!

Andrew: Well, I left links in the Sources section of my post. :) There are some good articles there.

JeffO: Hooray!

Susan: That would be amazing.

Jenny: Thanks!

As evidenced by the recent patent fights by pharmaceutical companies. They get more money even as patients have less access.

Christine: Same here. I wouldn't mind physical problems as much as having a serious mental disorder.

Liz: Agreed.

Trisha: Me, too. Obviously. :)

Rechelle: I'm so sorry that your relatives are suffering from Alzheimer's. That must be hard on everyone.

Jagoda: Glad you liked the GIF! It's unrelated to BACE-2, but I thought it would be an interesting image for the post.

Nick: I do, too.

Paul: My grandmother was in mental decline as she died, too; my mom and I lived with her during her last six years.

Charles: It would be, that's for sure!

Deniz Bevan said...

All your A to Z posts are so interesting! It's great to hear about all the recent Alzheimer's research as my grandmother has it...

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