Drug shows promise of fighting Alzheimer's in mice
Researchers from Yale Medical School, working with mice, have discovered a compound that they say was able to reverse the brain deficits from Alzheimer’s disease.
The drug affected a specific protein, called STtriatal-Enriched tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP), which is essential to regulating learning and memory. These functions are impaired in Alzheimer’s disease.
For the study, the researchers studied thousands of small molecules, searching for the ones that would inhibit STEP activity. Once they were identified, researchers tested them in brain cells to see how effectively they inhibited the effects of STEP. They tried the most promising compound on mice with Alzheimer’s disease and found that it reversed deficits in several cognitive exercises that gauged the memory of the mice.
High levels of STEP in the brain keeps synapses from strengthening, which is a necessary process for turning short-term memories into long-term memories. STEP also depletes receptors from synaptic sites and inactivates other proteins necessary for cognitive function.
Researchers found that a single dose of the drug resulted in improved cognition in the mice. The team is now testing the compound in other animals, such as rats and non-human primates.
NEXT: First use of electric chair: August 6, 1890
Sourced from: ScienceDaily, Drug reverses brain deficits of Alzheimer’s in mouse model
Published On: Aug 7th 2014
Low vitamin D linked to dementia
A new study published in the journal Neurology concludes that low levels of vitamin D are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and also that many older adults have severely low levels of the vitamin, putting them at a much greater risk for dementia.
Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School in the U.K. analyzed 1,658 dementia-free people over 65 who had participated in the US population-based Cardiovascular Health Study. The vitamin D levels in their blood were tested and they were followed up for an average of 5.6 years. During this follow-up period, 171 of the participants developed dementia and 102 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers found the participants with low levels of vitamin D were 53 percent more likely to develop dementia, and those who were severely deficient were 125 percent more likely, when compared with participants with healthy levels of vitamin D.
While the research did establish a clear link between vitamin D and dementia, it did not show that vitamin D deficiency actually causes dementia. The scientists’ next step is to set up clinical trials to establish whether eating foods such as oily fish or taking vitamin D supplements can delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
NEXT: Can narcissism be diagnosed with one question?
Sourced from: Medical News Today, Link found between dementia and vitamin D deficiency
Published On: Aug 7th 2014