A promising breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease – Annenberg Media

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day. And as Ethan Huang reports, a groundbreaking discovery has been made by researchers at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.


Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia and memory loss worldwide. The CDC says nearly 6 million people in the United States currently experience it. While a cure has yet to be found, some researchers are making great strides.

A team of PhD students found a microprotein they named “SHMOOSE”. As reported in their paper for Molecular Psychiatry, they discovered a genetic mutation that renders SHMOOSE partially inactive, leading to a 30% increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Lead author Brendan Miller sees these findings as a potential doorway to new treatments and drug research.

“This identifies this new microprotein domain as an untapped source to explain neurological degeneration…the next step would be to see if there is a way to engineer this peptide to serve as a drug candidate in Alzheimer’s disease. and test it.”

But finding new solutions is not the only goal of neurologists. Dr. Helena Chui is chair of the department of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine.

“We want a cure. There are so many things in neurology that we want to cure. And Alzheimer’s disease and strokes, Parkinson’s disease and ALS. We want a cure. But in the meantime, we are committed to treating them.

And although many people have the condition, research has come a very long way. As neurologist Dr. Paul Aisen of the Keck School of Medicine puts it,

“So I would like to convey this feeling of optimism that this is a terrible disease. It’s the most feared disease of aging. It’s very, very common, it affects all families. And so I would like to spread a message of optimism that we have made a lot of progress.

World Alzheimer’s Day is recognized for supporting those struggling with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as celebrating breakthroughs and hope for memories.

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