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2006 Grant - Diaz-Arrastia
Molecular Interactors for Alpha-Secretase: Physiopathological Role
Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Texas
Southwestern Medical School
2006 Zenith Fellows Award
Studies have demonstrated that elevated blood levels of homocysteine, a protein building block, may increase a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Homocysteine levels are regulated in part by the body's use of vitamin B12 and folic acid. Other studies have shown that people with Alzheimer's disease often have relatively significant deficiencies in vitamin B12 and folic acid and subsequently high blood levels of homocysteine. These findings suggest a possibility that vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements may help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues propose an assessment of clinical data to determine whether a high level of homocysteines in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The researchers will measure levels of homocysteine, vitamin B12, folic acid, and related blood-born molecules in blood samples of participants in a recently completed clinical trial. In the study of 769 individuals with MCI, 212 participants developed Alzheimer's disease within three years.
A comparison of the blood sample measures with disease outcomes may provide more solid evidence of the risks associated with homocysteines. The outcome of this work may have implications for designing a prevention trial to determine whether vitamin B12 and folic acid therapy is effective in preventing the transition from MCI to Alzheimer's disease.