A new study on elderly mice might provide a new way forward, something that could target dementia and take steps in correcting it.
Researchers from Stanford University have made a breakthrough discovery regarding memory loss. They discovered it was possible to reverse memory loss in mice, animals that have a similar genetic makeup to humans. If all works well, these results could translate to humans and provide alternate ways of treating the condition.
The study, published in the journal Nature, showed that a spinal fluid infusion from young mice was able to revert memory loss in elderly mice. Per researchers, this discovery is groundbreaking and could result in a whole new set of studies and tests that could then lead to new ways of treating memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
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The study used elderly mice, who, just like people, often have problems with their memory as a side effect of aging. Researchers then spent months devising a way to successfully extract spinal fluid from young mice, and then provided it to the elderly, hoping to encourage their brains to have better functioning.
The gamble worked, with elderly mice behaving as well as young mice in terms of completing memory tasks. Researchers called out FGF17, an element present in the spinal fluid, as one of the substances responsible for this improvement.
These results are incredibly encouraging and something that, if replicated on humans, could lead to drugs being mass-produced as new and effective ways of treating these conditions.
Dementia is a widespread side effect of aging, one that affects around 5.8 million people in the United States. While the condition is treated with medications, these are usually effective in managing symptoms and reducing the stress associated with the disease.
Stanford’s study on mice might provide a new way forward, something that could target the disease itself and take steps in correcting it, greatly improving people’s quality of life and slowing down the progression of the disease.