Keeping Neurons Alive in Brain May Help in Maintaining Neurological Functions in Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

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Research from Iova neuroscience institute at the University of Iowa has been published online and it states that the treatment with the neuroprotective compound which saves brain cells from dying will also help in preventing depression like behaviour and learning problems which occur in Alzheimer’s disease. Rat model has been used to conduct this test. This treatment protected the rats from Alzheimer’s like symptoms and neuronal cell death but it did not alter the buildup of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brains of rats. From a long time it has been known that the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles but it was never understood what is the cause of this or the effect of this on the disease process. This study has shown that keeping neurons alive in the brain can help the rats maintain normal neurological functions despite previous pathological events in the disease including accumulation of amyloid plaque and tau tangles. 

The study has led to the conclusion that by simply protecting neurons in Alzheimer’s disease without treating earlier or previous pathological events can actually have the potential to create new and innovative therapy. Conventional therapies have targeted the characteristic lesions in Alzheimer’s disease.

Over a period of 3 years Jaymie Voorhees, lead author of this report tested a large number of male and female rats who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and wild rats. They were divided into two groups. While one group received a placebo the other group received P7C3 compound on a daily basis from 6 months of age. Then the rats were tested at 24 months and 15 months of age for learning and memory abilities and depressive type behaviour.

At 16 months of age every rat including those from Alzheimer’s model and wild rats type, both treated and untreated were found to have normal memory abilities and learning abilities. However, the untreated rats suffering from Alzheimer’s disease exhibited a strong depression type behaviour while those rats suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who had been treated with neuroprotective P7C3 compound did not show any signs of depression.

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