Drug to prevent dementia

Scientists have replicated the enzyme which delays the onset of mental impairment.

Drug to prevent dementia

Calorie restricted diets, which reduce calorie intake by up to 40 per cent, have been shown to slow ageing in cells and even to prolong life. Most calorie restriction research has been done on mice, but studies in humans have shown that calorie restriction can boost memory in the elderly.

Now researchers say they have found a way to mimic the effects of calorie restriction on the brain. The drug delays cognitive impairment associated with both ageing and Alzheimer’s disease by activating an enzyme in brain cells.

The initial study was conducted on mice, but the results suggest that human trials could show similar results, staving off decline in brain function as we grow older. The study looked at how calorie restriction affects brain cells. It showed that restricting calorie intake by approximately 30 per cent boosts the levels of an enzyme in the brain, and also delays the loss of nerve cells.

When mice were fed a normal amount, but also given the enzyme, the mice had better functioning brain cells and performed better on cognitive tests than the mice which were not given the enzyme. The study is the first demonstration of a synthetic molecule mimicking the benefits of a calorie restricted diet.

David Sinclair, a professor at Harvard Medical School, explained, “What makes this even more interesting is that the [drug] prevented neurodegeneration, one of the hardest degenerative processes to slow down with a drug.”

Read the full study in the Journal of Neuroscience.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    9th Aug 2013
    The excess amount of food consumed [calories] is the cause of obesity. If the amount was reduced then there are many benefits - and this would appear to be one.
    Pass the Ductape
    10th Aug 2013
    Unless you have a thyroid problem, I have to agree with you on that one aquatrek.
    10th Aug 2013
    Drugs that alter the chemicals in the brain - another scary thing that they have come up with, what are the side effects this time.....
    10th Aug 2013
    have to ask the mice at this stage
    26th Oct 2013
    The mice can't even remember taking any pills!

    10th Aug 2013
    I have been on a calorie restricted diet for years. I addition I have a day a week of fasting. I feel frequently.

    12th Aug 2013
    Nothing like a healthy diet (low cal) and moderate exercise.
    26th Oct 2013
    hmmm what if you forget to take your pill,........ FAIL!

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