Texas Public Radio: Science & Medicine

Bess Frost, PhD, associate professor in the Barshop Institute, talks with Texas Public Radio about her work on jumping genes and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Original Story: Texas Public Radio

Science & Medicine: Alzheimer’s and the inflammatory trigger.

By Bonnie Petrie

A UT Health Science Center San Antonio researcher has discovered something really interesting about Alzheimer’s disease.

Bess Frost, PhD, an associate professor in Cell Systems and Anatomy, is a scientist at the university’s Barshop Institute for Aging and Longevity Studies and its Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Her team recently discovered that an inflammatory trigger, like one present during viral infections, is elevated in Alzheimer’s — but this inflammatory trigger isn’t from our time.

“So over the course of human evolution, our genome has accumulated a lot of viral sequences. You can think of these as viral sequences that your great, great, great, great — extend the greats all the way to the beginning — were infected with, and these viruses now live in our genome as regular sequences,” Frost said. “It’s just part of who we are now.”

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