Welcome back everyone! This week is a special week as I try to synthesize everything that I’ve been learning over the past eight weeks to come to somewhat of a conclusion before giving my final thoughts in next week’s post. I feel like where I started with this project completely differs from where I am now. So, during this week, I reread all of my blog posts and in this final update, I will do give this project the conclusion it deserves.
I began my research looking at cerebrovascular diseases—first VaD, and then cerebral hypoperfusion. The research into VaD didn’t seem to get me anywhere, but it did give me some information that remained critical in the rest of my research: amyloid deposition occurs 15 years before the emergence of AD. It led me to believe that cardiovascular abnormalities could be present well before the onset of AD. Then, I looked at cerebral hypoperfusion. In all honesty, the evidence seems to be inconclusive on whether this could directly cause amyloid deposition. There were contradicting studies and it simply was not clear whether the hypoperfusion was occurring as a result of neuronal damage or whether it was preceding it.
It was at this point that I decided to take a step back. Instead of looking at the prior research of my research question, I looked at the current methods being used to study and treat AD. I learned about amyloid-directed approaches as well as more recent approaches that targeted neurofibrillary tangles. From this I discovered a new avenue for my research: the use of statins and the role of hypocholesteremia in the emergence of AD. Cholesterol is thought to contribute to amyloid aggregation, so the use of statins may prove effective in retarding disease progression.
Ultimately, I am not completely sure whether it is hypoperfusion or cholesterol that is more involved with amyloid deposition. I began this project by exploring the relationship between cardiovascular abnormalities and the emergence of Alzheimer’s disease. Now, I find that there are two areas to explore within this question and each could lead to significant progress in treating this disease.
Alright, everyone! This is my final update of this Senior Project. It has been quite a crazy few months but I am glad I was able to educate both myself and all of you by exploring this research question. With a global health crisis in our hands, things have become scary but at the same time, it has given me an opportunity to explore new hobbies and catch up on some sleep. I hope all of you have enjoyed reading my posts over the past few weeks!