In our two previous posts on the subject of dementia and memory loss, we highlighted the many environmental and external factors that may cause someone to display signs of severe mental impairment. Qualified medical experts can sometimes find the source(s) of the problem and reverse symptoms by fixing the external issue. But what if someone’s dementia or memory loss is due to a physiological factor? What if someone has a confirmed case of Alzheimer’s Disease? Can anything be done? It turns out that science may finally have some answers.
Neurologists at Stanford University recently discovered that some of our immune cells become dysfunctional as people age, which leads to a series of age-related inflammatory diseases ranging from cancer to cognitive decline. In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers discovered that a hormone called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) rises as we age and promotes inflammatory responses in immune cells. A positive feedback loop results in speeding up the inflammatory response and leading to ever-increasing cell aging. When scientists disrupted the mechanism, old cells became rejuvenated.
In a separate study, doctors at UC San Francisco found that a drug, called ISRIB, restores memory function and reverses cognitive decline in mice. The drug rapidly rebooted cellular protein production and has (so far) been shown to have no side effects.
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Of course, there are two important caveats to be aware of regarding the Stanford and UCSF studies. First, the scientists did their experiments on laboratory mice. Although such studies typically apply well to humans, that next step has not been done. Second, the experimental drugs the scientists used on the mice to reverse signs of aging and memory loss may not be safe for humans. It will likely take many years before drug therapy is approved for general use.
That said, the studies are essential for many reasons. First, neurologists may have uncovered some secrets critical to aging, which, in turn, provides the answer to reverse aging, including cognitive decline and memory loss. Second, it’s now clear that cognitive decline is not irreversible. If it’s possible to turn the clock back for mice, it will almost certainly be possible to do the same for humans. Third, restoring youthful immune functions now becomes a central focus of the scientific investigation. The needle in the haystack appears to have been found; now, it’s just a matter of time and resources before anti-aging therapies and protocols become a reality.
If someone you know is currently suffering from signs of mental decline, memory loss, or Alzheimer’s, we strongly suggest you consult with a qualified medical expert. As noted in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, all such signs do not necessarily point to a definitive diagnosis. And keep in mind that if a diagnosis is confirmed, doctors are rapidly closing in on therapies that may be of great benefit to the millions of elderly suffering from cognitive decline.
Attorney Wendy York of York Law Firm specializes in prosecuting elder abuse and wrongful death cases. If you or a loved one are in need of legal assistance please contact Wendy York today.