A new skin script could help with Alzheimer’s diagnosis

A new script could be developed to help diagnose Alzheimer’s patients with a new skin type that is less susceptible to bacteria, scientists have discovered. 

They say that, in theory, this could lead to better diagnostic outcomes for the more than one million people with Alzheimer`s disease worldwide. 

A team led by scientists from the University of Edinburgh has found that skin that is a mix of the skin pigmentation that is common in people with the condition, called keratinocytes, and those of people with milder forms of the disease called Lewy body, is more prone to bacterial infections.

“We wanted to understand what makes this type of keratin different to the skin that we see in people, and the answer is that it has a very low amount of keratins in it, meaning it does not contain any pigments, but rather a mix that has been converted into keratin,” said Dr Anna McVey, lead author of the study.

The team’s work was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

In the paper, the researchers describe their study as “one of the first to demonstrate that the combination of kerins from different individuals, with the ability to produce a skin surface with a different composition, can result in a skin that contains different numbers of keridans.”

The team says the skin’s keratin is different in that it is more likely to be present in darker skin tones, which is why it is prone to bacteria.

“The keratin of the human body is a product of hundreds of thousands of cells, some of which are melanocytes,” Dr McVee said.

“When we look at the different keratin types, there are three major types: keratinous keratin, keratinocyte keratin and keratin-like keratin.”

The researchers found that the skin of people who were born with Lewy-B body have a lower percentage of the types of kerin that are found in people who have milder types of the condition.

“This could be a clue to the way in which Lewy bodies can develop and spread and it could help us to understand the mechanism behind the different types of Lewy cell that are more prevalent in people living with the disease,” Dr Martin McVeal, a co-author of the paper and from the Institute of Molecular Biochemistry at Edinburgh, said.

The study was funded by the National Health Service Research Council, the British Heart Foundation, the Scottish Government and the Department of Health.

The paper is titled: An Investigation into the Keratinization of the Human Skin by Melanocyte Keratinocytes and the Lewy Body Skin. 

The study is published in PLOS ONE.