Every 67 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s in the United States. And the most shocking is that 1 out of 6 women have a form of the disease by the age of 65. In such a scenario when memory loss is becoming a big problem in the United States the findings of a new study has come as a major breakthrough.
The researchers from Saint Louis University in Missouri have successfully reversed symptoms of Alzheimer’s in mice using a newly created molecular compound.
A research team led by Susan Farr, PhD, a professor of geriatrics at the university, developed a compound called antisense oligonucleotide (OL-1).
The researchers tested on mouse models with Alzheimer’s disease and found that the compound reversed brain inflammation and learning and memory deficits that are the classic symptoms of the disease.
A recent government report says, over 5 million people in the United States suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and this number is estimated to soar to 16 million by 2050. In such a condition, there is a huge need for finding new treatments for the memory loss and related the diseases.
The researchers explained the process. They say the new compound OL-1 works by blocking messenger RNA (mRNA) that stimulates the production of excess amyloid-beta protein, which can lead to the development of amyloid-beta plaques – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
The new compound helped in reducing the over expression of the amyloid-beta protein precursor gene that is responsible for regulating the amount of amyloid-beta protein present in the body.
Taking about the findings of the study, Farr says, “Our findings reinforce the importance of amyloid-beta protein Alzheimer’s disease process. They suggest that an antisense that targets the precursor to amyloid-beta protein is a potential therapy to explore to reversing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.”
The scientists are hopeful that the recent discovery may act as a breakthrough in treating memory related diseases and produce tools for increasing and retaining intelligence in individuals with cognitive decline.
According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, , around 44.4 million people have dementia in 2013 and this number is expected to increase to 75.6 million by 2030 and almost double the number in 2050.
The disease is the sixth leading killer in our country, the Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report says.
According to Alzheimer’s Association, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia will grow as the U.S. population of those age 65 and older increases.
Alzheimer’s affects patient’s memory, communication skills and their executive functions.
In 2014, it’s expected that $214 billion will be spent on people suffering from the disease or a form of it.
The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.