Predicting Dementia
mp3 | wav

kids

We're all now more familiar with the term mRNA thanks to the COVID-nineteen pandemic. Messenger ribonucleic acid is a type of RNA molecule that brings information used to make proteins from the DNA to machinery inside cells. And proteins perform most of the cell's functions.

There are other types of RNA and one that's under intense study are microRNAs. They're like traffic cops inside cells to help them decide which products to make, when, and how much. Researchers want to understand how they influence cognition.

IIn one study, scientists recruited healthy young people and seniors with mild cognitive decline. They also used mice models in tandem with the study. When compared, they were able to link three microRNAs with mental impairment. While young people, had low levels of these microRNAs, ninety percent of the cognitively impaired seniors had higher levels

In mice, these levels began to rise even before the mice showed mental decline. So, are these levels predictive of dementia? If so, they could be used as biomarkers for early diagnosis since we don't yet have a reliable method. It's possible these microRNAs may even cause dementia. They drive inflammatory conditions in the brain which affect nerve cells' ability to connect to one another. To test the theory, when they blocked these microRNA in mice, the animals' learning became enhanced.

If a simple blood test can detect dementia, people can get early treatment and possibly slow its progress.

For more information…

"Harbinger" molecules could predict dementia up to 5 years in advance
Earlier detection of dementia could open up far more effective ways to treat and manage the condition, and one place scientists are increasingly turning to for warning signs is the blood. A new study has further broadened the possibilities in this area, pinpointing a set of molecules the authors describe as a "harbinger" of the condition two to five years ahead of onset, and may even provide new targets for advanced therapies...

A microRNA signature that correlates with cognition and is a target against cognitive decline
While some individuals age without pathological memory impairments, others develop age-associated cognitive diseases. Since changes in cognitive function develop slowly over time in these patients, they are often diagnosed at an advanced stage of molecular pathology, a time point when causative treatments fail. Thus, there is great need for the identification of inexpensive and minimal invasive approaches that could be used for screening with the aim to identify individuals at risk for cognitive decline that can then undergo further diagnostics and eventually stratified therapies...