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Alzheimer's Disease Reversed In Mice By Cleveland Clinic Doctors

Monday, March 5, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Shutting off one protein in the brain improved the rodents' cognitive function and removed the plaque associated with Alzheimer's.


CLEVELAND, OH — In what could be a breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic have reversed the effects of the disease in the minds of mice. By shutting off one enzyme, the mice enjoyed restored cognitive function.

"To our knowledge, this is the first observation of such a dramatic reversal of amyloid deposition in any study of Alzheimer's disease mouse models," said one of the study's coauthors Riqiang Yan, the chair of neurosciences at the University of Connecticut and the co-discoverer of BACE1, in a news release. 

The study was conducted with specially bred mice that suffered from Alzheimer's disease symptoms. Scientists were able to mimic future medications by turning off BACE1, an enzyme that plays a big role in neural development for humans and mice, in the rodents. However, researchers believe BACE1 can also produce beta-amyloid plaques, which some believe, when produced in abnormal amounts, can lead to Alzheimer's.

Reducing BACE1 production led to improved cognitive function in the mice and the steady decline of the plaque deposits. Within 10 months, researchers could no longer spot the plaque on the rodents brains. That meant, the mice enjoyed improved memories and improved learning. Still, their minds were not returned to pre-Alzheimer's ability.

The research was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. While not an immediate reason for celebration, pharmaceutical companies have been trying to create BACE1 inhibitors for years, the National Geographic reports. Should one company have a breakthrough, it could mean major developments for reversing the effects of Alzheimer's. There are at least five BACE1 inhibitors that are being tested for human use.

However, the researchers are urging a skeptical, cautious approach to the results. Findings and breakthroughs in mice don't always translate to humans, ABC News reported. Plus, the study only imitated what future medications could do. No actual medication was tested, meaning results could vary widely.


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