Cholesterol could be killing us

by Alison Palma

Sixty-five faculty and students turned out to hear Robert A. Maue Ph. D speak about his research group’s findings that cholesterol in the brain might be causing Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease on April 10th at 5 p.m..

Maue studied at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, but is now part of the New Hampshire IDeA Network of Biological Research Excellence (NH-INBRE).

The presentation was called “Cholesterol in the brain: pathology and abnormal development of neurons in Niemann Pick Type C (NPC) disease.”

Maue started by speaking about cholesterol metabolism showing pictures and graphs of cholesterol in the liver and brain.

He then dove into more details about NPC. One in 90,000 people have it, it’s genetic, and it’s fatal, according to NH-INBRE’s research. “I don’t think I have seen someone live beyond the age of 10 or 11. It’s horrible,” said Maue.

As of right now there is no effective treatment available but scientists have done a lot of research with mice that have a similar disease. “There is a drug being tried, but it’s very toxic for children under twelve,” said Maue.

(Photo: Alison Palma)

Many students attended, most of them were there for extra credit for their classes. Junior Hannah Runge said, “My grandpa has Parkinson’s and it’s nice to see that there can be a cure.”

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