Midwestern University Logo Fighting Alzheimer’s disease seems to have taken the center stage in the health terrain. Just last month an article suggested that maternal inheritance elevates risk of developing Alzheimer’s and here is another investigation on the ailment. A groundbreaking research claims that decreased activity of an energy-generating enzyme in reduced young adult brain donors carry a common genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Changes in the brain are probably witnessed before protein modifications or microscopic abnormalities related to the disorder and almost five decades prior to the age at which memory and thinking problems develop.

Experts thoroughly evaluated tissue from a vulnerable part of the brain in 40 young adults who had died and donated their brains for research. It appeared that 15 brain donors had a common genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, known as APOE4. On the other hand, 25 brain donors apparently did not have APOE4. Apart from a person with two copies of the APOE4 gene, none of the deceased young adults were registered with increased amyloid protein levels. Activity of the enzyme cytochrome oxidase seems to be slightly reduced in the group at increased genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Cytochrome oxidase is known to be an energy-making enzyme located in the power-packs of the brain cells. Jon Valla, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Midwestern University and the lead researcher and colleagues previously employed a brain imaging technique called PET for identifying reduced brain activity in living young adults at genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The subjects possibly had decrease in cytochrome oxidase activity and the expression of energy-making genes in deceased brain donors with Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Individuals at genetic risk for Alzheimer’s apparently develop modifications in energy utilization or some other abnormality in the mitochondria. The alterations apparently occur long before the progressive brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease even start. According to the scientists, mitochondrial brain changes contribute to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research was published in the October Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.