Virginia Tech Receives $3.3 Million Grant to Research Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease mainly affects the brain, leading to lapses in memory and other issues. Recent research suggests that our muscles, particularly the mitochondria, may be involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, steady exercise during advancing age has been shown to help sustain mitochondrial health, especially in skeletal muscle. However, it is still unknown if exercise is equally beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech a $3.3 million grant to further investigate the relationship between muscle mitochondria and Alzheimer’s disease. The principal investigator of the research team is Joshua Drake, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. Drake is joined by co-investigator Junco Warren, also an assistant professor in the same department and assistant professor of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC.
The primary goal of this research is to understand how muscle mitochondria behave when a person is affected by Alzheimer’s disease. By studying this knowledge gap, Drake and Warren aim to discover more about how Alzheimer’s disease develops and its effect on people. The results from this research may reveal more about the relationship between skeletal muscle mitochondrial function and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It may also uncover new metabolic pathways involved in the development of the disease.
The findings of this research could be instrumental in understanding the development of targeted therapies that address early energy dysfunction, a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Ultimately, this research has the potential to improve the quality of life for individuals living with the disease.