Did Stanford University Just Cure Alzheimers?

Elderly Alzheimers Couple

Researchers at Stanford University may have cracked the code to Alzheimer’s – including a way to reverse the memory loss associated with the disease.

The team discovered that nerve cells die because cells which are supposed to clear the brain of bacteria, viruses and dangerous deposits, simply stop working.

Called ‘microglia’, these cells can cease functioning from a single protein, called EP2, that builds up over the years.

“Microglia are the brain’s beat cops,” said Dr Katrin Andreasson, Professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. “Our experiments show that keeping them on the right track counters memory loss and preserves healthy brain physiology.”

Simply blocking the EP2 protein allows the microglia to function normally and remove the dangerous plaques responsible for the nerve cell damage associated with Alzheimer’s.

More amazing is that research on mice has shown that blocking EP2 actually reversed memory loss and other Alzeimer’s symptoms.

According to The Telegraph UK,

Microglial cells make up around 10 to 15 per cent of cells in the brain. They act as a frontline defence, looking for suspicious activities and materials. When they spot trouble, they release substances that recruit other microglia to the scene which then destroy and get rid of any foreign invaders.

They also work as garbage collectors, chewing up dead cells and molecular debris strewn among living cells including clusters of amyloid-beta which aggregate as gummy deposits and break the connections between neurons, causing loss of memory and spatial awareness. These clusters are believed to play a substantial role in causing Alzheimer’s.

“The microglia are supposed to be, from the get-go, constantly clearing amyloid-beta, as well as keeping a lid on inflammation,” added Dr Andreasson. “If they lose their ability to function, things get out of control. A-beta builds up in the brain, inducing toxic inflammation.”

Alzheimers

The scientists discovered that in young mice, the microglia kept the sticky plaques under control. But when experiments were done on older mice, the protein EP2 swung into action and stopped the microglia producing enzymes which digested the plaques.

“The microglia are supposed to be, from the get-go, constantly clearing amyloid-beta, as well as keeping a lid on inflammation,” added Dr Andreasson. “If they lose their ability to function, things get out of control. A-beta builds up in the brain, inducing toxic inflammation.”

Additional research showed that mice genetically engineered not to create the EP2 proteins were unable to get Alzheimer’s related symptoms opening the door to both a pharmaceutical and a genetic cure to the disease ravaging some 5 million people worldwide.

About Hunter Roosevelt

Hunter's political beliefs are always evolving. Not really. He can be seen supporting whichever side has the hotter women so it's almost always the conservative side (have you seen the hippy chicks? Gross). When he's not writing he's celebrating the resurgence of his beloved Florida Gators and New York Mets.