Few things are more precious than memory, and for years, thousands have suffered with watching their loved ones lose themselves to the ravages of age. Alzheimer’s disease robs us of our loved ones too soon, but a solution is on the horizon. Researchers have found a way to fight against the decay of memory, possibly to stop it entirely. This hope comes in the form of a protein found to cause memory impairment when it builds in the blood and brain. By identifying the problem, these researchers have discovered how to block the production of this protein, preventing the eventual loss of memory.
Recent discoveries led scientists to theorize that blood plasma is the key to curing many age-based ailments. By focusing their collective efforts on identifying the components in blood plasma that lead to Alzheimer’s disease, patients are already preparing to undergo trials. While still in its infancy, the process could be capable of slowing down the aging process, and all its rigors.
Such a monumental discovery came from observing mice with increased levels of beta-2-microglobulin, or B2M. This protein, produced in both mice and humans, increase in saturation as the subject ages. Furthermore, subjects in need of long-term kidney dialysis often suffered from raised levels of B2M in their blood, resulting in a faster decline in cognition.
The hypothesis was proven during testing on young mice while they solved a maze. The younger mice, memories intact, would run the test while searching for specific checkpoints. When B2M was introduced into their systems, however, researchers noticed a drastic change. The young mice began to falter where they’d just recently displayed mastery of the maze. “They will make perhaps one or two mistakes over the course of three trials,” a researcher says, “but when you give them B2M, they’ll make perhaps five.”
Whether a treatment is to be developed for the infirm, or we’ll live to see this protein expunged from our bodies entirely, the identification of such a troubling element can only spell good things for the future. The eradication of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia will not only ensure a new quality of life, but promise the preservation of a lifetime’s worth of cherished memories.
from Bjorn Koch | Healthcare http://ift.tt/1M8za2o