JU academician solves Alzheimer prob

Rashed Ahmed Mitul, UNB Staff Writer
Reported on: May 28, 2012 16:17 PM

News - Alzheimer’s treatment: JU professor shows the path
Still there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but a professor at Jahangirnagar University has launched for the first time in Bangladesh the process of generation of animal model, aiming to discover effective medicine for the treatment of the neurological disease.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disease of the brain leading to the irreversible loss of neurons and the loss of intellectual abilities, including memory and reasoning, which become severe enough to impede social or occupational functioning. Alzheimer’s disease is also known as simply Alzheimer’s, and Senile Dementia of the Alzheimer Type (SDAT).

So far, there is no medicine in the world that can actually prevent or cure the Alzheimer’s disease or which can reinstate the mental abilities of the person back to normal.

On May 27, Prof Dr Shahadat Hossain of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department of Jahangirnagar University started the journey of animal model generation for Alzheimer’s disease by operating upon Long Evans Species rat, the first-ever effort in Bangladesh.

The successful research on generation of rat model of Alzheimer’s disease was carried out at the Alternative Medicine Laboratory of his department.
Following this step, Bangladesh is expected to make a good progress on its way to discover medicine of Alzheimer disease.

The research is being carried out in cooperation with the Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP), a joint project funded by the World Bank and the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh.

Prof Hossain told UNB that he has been carrying out efforts for the last the 15 years to discover an effective medicine for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in collaboration with his Japanese professor.

Prof Hossain said now research is going on worldwide on Alzheimer’s disease and Bangladesh does not fall behind in this regard.

He said it is mandatory to carry out experiments on animals to discover any medicine and its effective influence. “So, it’s necessary to generate model animals.”

Then the determination of the effects of that drug has to be conducted on the experimental model animals.  But the generation of Alzheimer’s disease model animal is a sharp and complex process. It needs brain surgery of the animal.

Alzheimer disease is caused due to deposition of a type of protein, namely amyloid beta peptide in brain.  Amyloid beta peptide causes neurodegeneration leading to progressive memory loss.

Dr Hossain said one of the most dependable methods to prepare model animal of this disease is to directly infuse the amyloid beta peptide inside brain ventricle.

Later, it can be ascertained through examining the loss of memory of the Alzheimer disease model animals.

In Asian countries, the JU professor said, in laboratories of some universities of Japan, including Brain Science Institute, 2-3 laboratories in China and a laboratory in Taiwan efforts, are trying to discover medicines to treat the disease through making Alzheimer’s disease model animals.

Though widely known across the world, Alzheimer’s is a little known disease in Bangladesh. Five to 10 percent people suffer from the disease when they cross 65 years of age while 50 percent of people suffer from it when they cross 85 years.

One of the major symptoms of this disease is the loss of memory. Although many think the disease as normal problem of old age but it is a complex disease.

At the initial stage, the symptoms are noticed during daily normal activities like forgetting what and when one ate, when had taken shower. Such problems gradually turn into bigger problems. When the problems become acute, the patients usually live on ‘present-time’, they forget about their past and cannot make future plan even for the daily activities.