Researchers of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have discovered news ways of preventing or reducing short-term memory losses associated with Alzheimers syndrome.
As per reports, a team researchers of the institute studied the neurochemical principles of Alzheimers disease and devised ways to prevent accumulation of neurotoxic molecules in the brain that are associated with short-term memory loss.
“The IIT Guwahati team reports interesting methods such as application of low-voltage electric field, and the use of ‘trojan peptides’ to arrest aggregation of neurotoxic molecules in the brain,” an official statement said.
“The scientists are assisted by research scholars Gaurav Pandey and Jahnu Saikia in their work. The results of their studies have been published in reputed journals such as ACS Chemical Neuroscience, RSC Advances of Royal Society of Chemistry, BBA and Neuropeptides,” it added.
The idea of using ‘Trojan peptide’ comes from mythological “Trojan Horse” used as subterfuge by the Greeks in the battle of Troy.
The researchers have designed Trojan peptides by adopting a similar approach of ‘deceit’ to impede the aggregation of the amyloid peptide, arrest the formation of toxic fibrillar assemblies, and reduce poisoning of nerve cells that leads to memory loss.
The research team is being led by Vibhin Ramakrishnan, a professor of the department of biosciences and bioengineering and Harshal Nemade, a professor of department of electronics and electrical engineering of IIT Guwahati.
“Approximately hundred potential drugs for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease have failed between 1998 and 2011, which shows the gravity of the problem,” Ramakrishnan said.
The development of a cure for Alzheimer’s disease assumes importance India as it has the third highest number of Alzheimer’s patients in the world, after China and US, with more than four million people falling prey to the memory loss associated with it.
A defining hallmark of Alzheimer’s is the accumulation of amyloid beta peptides in the brain.
The researchers are looking for ways to reduce the accumulation of these peptides, in order to arrest the progression of Alzheimer’s.
In 2019, the IIT Guwahati scientists found that application of a low-voltage, safe electrical field can reduce the formation and accumulation of toxic neurodegenerative molecules that cause short-term memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.
They found that external electric/magnetic field modulates the structure of these peptide molecules, thereby preventing aggregation.
“Upon exposure to electric field, we could retard the degeneration of nerve cells to an extent of 17–35%. Objectively, this would translate to about 10 years delay in the onset of the disease”, Ramakrishnan said.
Working further in this area, the scientists explored the possibility of using ‘Trojan peptides’ to arrest aggregation of these neurotoxic molecules.
“Our research has provided a different path that may extend the onset of the Alzheimer’s disease. However, it would take testing in animal models and clinical trials before bringing in such new therapeutic approaches into human treatment,” the researchers added.