Alzheimer’s linked to brain waste removal?

Brain injuries cause toxic proteins to build up among the cells

Jeffrey Iliff, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, examines a vizualization of blunt force trauma's effect on the brain. (KOIN 6 News)
Jeffrey Iliff, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, examines a vizualization of blunt force trauma's effect on the brain. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Scientists at OHSU may have unlocked a key into why people who experienced a substantial brain injury early in life are twice as likely to get dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at OHSU suggest it is connected with the brain’s waste removal system. Brain injuries cause toxic proteins to build up among the cells — similar to what happens with Alzheimer’s.

“If you have a brain injury, we might do some sort of imaging test where we find out, hey, is your clearance system still working or has it been damaged or disabledm” said OHSU researcher Jeffrey Iliff. “And then we might know if you are going to be a person that is susceptible to developing neurodegeneration later in life. We would treat you very different.”

Researchers are hoping to create a drug in the next 5 to 10 years that would help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s and treat the neurodegeneration in people  with brain injuries.

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