Scientists from the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center found a bacteria strain with the potential to cure Alzheimer’s disease. They’re excited about the results from a drug called rapamycin, found in bacteria in the soil of Easter Island.
Added to the food of healthy mice throughout their lives, the drug enhanced learning and memory in younger animals and raised those same cognitive skill levels in older ones.
Long-term treatment with rapamycin extended the lifespan of the mice and delayed aging by inhibiting the mice’s mTOR pathway. It also reduced Amyloid-B levels in the lab animals. The drug slowed or blocked the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and may be a potentially effective therapeutic agent in treating Alzheimer’s.
Researcher Veronica Gavin said, “We made the young ones learn and remember what they learned better than what is normal. Among the older mice, the ones fed with a diet including rapamycin actually showed an improvement, negating the normal decline that you see in these functions with age.”
Sources: Discovery News, July 3, 2012 Texas study published in Journal of Neuroscience PLoS One, 2010