The previous theory of beta amyloid plaque buildup in the brain as the cause of AD has not led to an effective solution. The disappointing results of this theory along with the failure of many clinical trials and pharmaceutical companies pulling back on research has led to the development of new theories.
Some of these theories or new areas of research include connections between decreased sense of smell and AD, connections between oral bacteria and AD, and blood brain barrier breaches and AD.
While I will address each of these fascinating areas of research in future posts, I will begin with highlighting the topic of decreased sense of smell. This topic is of particular interest to me as I just had the delightful opportunity to hear Randy Schekman (Nobel Laureate, Physiology or Medicine; Professor U.C. Berkeley, Molecular and Cell Biology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute) give a keynote address to alumni of U.C. Berkeley. His area of expertise is in the area of Parkinson’s disease research. PD differs from AD as to symptoms and cause but is categorized as a neurodegenerative disease and thus has some similarities. Schekman spoke about decreased sense of smell being one of several early symptoms of PD, and I became inspired to research the connection between loss of smell and AD.