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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disease that is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 5 million Americans are afflicted nationwide and the cost to the economy is valued at 259 billion dollars. Additionally, unlike other major causes of death in the United States, there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and it is strongly tied to aging. In most cases symptoms make their first appearance in the late 60’s and gradually worsen, eventually leading to a loss of cognitive function and death. The two outstanding changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease are neurofibrillary tangles and beta amyloid plaque. The presence of these is used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease after death. Certain hormonal changes that are associated with age, such as a rise in luteinizing hormone levels, are strong contenders for the age-related causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Elevated gonadotropin levels have been shown in studies to correlate with amyloid beta accumulation in human and animal brains. The precise mechanism of action and the causation are not yet fully understood. Nevertheless, some studies have shown that lowering levels of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (which releases luteinizing hormone) through the treatment with leuprolide acetate, a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, have led to lowered risk of mortality by Alzheimer’s disease in both mice and humans. This paper will discuss the association between elevated luteinizing hormone levels and Alzheimer’s disease as well as the possibility of a gonadotropin-releasing-hormone blocking based treatment for Alzheimer’s.

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