Australian scientists use UHT milk to understand Alzheimer’s

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 24th April 2017

Australian scientists are using UHT milk to help them better understand Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Type Two Diabetes.

Published on 1 February 2017 in The Small Journal*, researchers reported that the same type of protein clusters found in UHT milk is also found in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.

Co-lead researcher, Australian National University Professor John Carver, said that two unrelated proteins aggregate in UHT milk over a period of months to form clusters called amyloid fibrils, which cause the milk to transform from a liquid into a gel.

He said the same type of protein clusters are found in plaque deposits in cases of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“Our interest in milk proteins led to a discovery of the reason for this gelling phenomenon occurring in aged UHT milk,” said Professor Carver.

“The research does not suggest UHT milk can cause these age-related diseases,” he stated.

 Professor Carver said milk proteins changed structurally when heated briefly to around 140 degrees to produce UHT milk, causing the gelling phenomenon with long-term storage.

He said normal pasteurised milk did not form amyloid fibrils.

Approximately 500 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Type 2 Diabetes with millions of deaths attributed to the diseases each year.


*The Small Journal is published by Wiley and specialises in coverage of developments about science and technology on the micro and nanoscales.