The key to Alzheimer’s Disease might be in our veins!
Last year, a medical research team in the University of Stanford made a key experiment when It comes to Alzheimer. They connected two mice, one young and an elder mouse, then they analyzed which had happened to them. The largest had 18 months, the equivalent to 70 human years, and the young, three, about 11 years of person. Elsewhere in the US and Germany, other research teams where performing very similar experiments, and all three got the same results.
The results that these research teams got, have open a new frontier when it comes to how we will approach Alzheimer’s disease in the future. The results were that something in the blood of the young mouse had "reactivated" the old mouse brain. Like people, the older mice slowly lose the memory and cognitive ability. But in these mice, their memory had improved significantly after the union with the blood of younger mice, their brains had been reactivated and the production of new neurons in their brain. According to Dr. Saul Villeda, head doctor in charge of this investigation, there might be a possibility that a similar effect could happen with people with Alzheimer’s disease. Now, the efforts of this research will now focus on identifying the ingredients in younger blood that could reverse the effects of aging and the diseases associated with it, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
This investigation team published their initial findings in Nature Medicine, and there they describe a protein that circulates in the blood that seems to activate the adverse effects of aging. The protein in question is called beta-2 microglobulin (B2M) and its concentration in the blood of both mice and humans increases with age. The levels of this protein are also especially high in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
According to Villeda, his team explores the possible connection between the immune system and that cognitive impairment that is seen in people of advanced age. The protein B2M is an example of that connection, because, until now, we only knew its role as part of the immune system. The study will now see if it is possible to develop neutralizing antibodies or small molecules that can block the effects of this protein or help eliminate it from the blood. In addition, the research team at Stanford prepares a pilot study with older persons and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, which will be treated with plasma of young people aged 30 years or less.
The researchers hope that we might be heading towards a world were Alzheimer’s disease can be fully treated.