After studying the villagers from a small island of Guam, a researcher discovered that Alzheimer’s is linked to an algae’s toxin. According to the author of the study, the damage that the neurotoxin does to the brain has a pattern that is very similar to a couple of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s.
The scientists that begun to study the neurotoxin say that it may hold a key to finding a cure for the disorder that affects millions of Americans in the present. It seems that the answer was in nature all of this time.
Back in the 1950s, a group of Army physicians that were stationed in Guam noticed that several residents of the Chamorro island were showing symptoms that were consistent with several neurological disorders without actually having the. The villagers were suffering from a sort of unknown paralytic disease that had common features with ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
Upon the examination of the villagers that were killed by the disease, the doctors found that the brain was actually very similar to that of a person that died because of Alzheimer’s disease. The protein clumps and neural fiber tangles were consistent with the pattern of the above-mentioned disease.
The team of scientists that worked on the case discovered that the cause of the villagers’ disease was a toxin that can be found in the natural environment, especially in algae. By consuming sharks, fish and shellfish that came in contact with the algae, the villagers became infested.
It seems that the same environmental toxin was responsible for an ALS epidemic among soldiers that fought in the Gulf War in Persia in 1991. The sand that they inhaled during their mission was probably infested with the L-BMAA toxin.
In order to test the exact properties of the L-BMAA toxin, the team of scientists devised a method of animal testing. They used four groups of vervets, a monkey species native to Africa. One group received the dose a villager could ingest in a lifetime, the second received only a tenth of the L-BMAA dose, the third got a dose equal to the first one, but with an added L-serine supplement and the last one was the control group that received a placebo.
The experiment lasted 140 days. At the end of this time, the autopsies revealed that the vervets that received the L-BMAA had brain lesions consistent with Alzheimer’s disease, but the ones that received an added L-serine supplement were doing better than the first two groups.
There is an on-going study that focuses on the beneficial effect of L-serine on patients with ALS disorder.
Even though supplemental research is needed before developing a cure, the fact that Alzheimer’s is linked to an algae’s toxic only makes the researchers think that the cure also lies in nature or natural substances.
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