Scientists investigating the driving factors behind certain neurological diseases have uncovered a new class of proteins that could help us intervene in some of the destructive processes that take place in the brain. The findings throw up new possibilities when it comes to treating Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, with the team hopeful they can also shed light on why some are more susceptible to these types of diseases than others.
New results have been published from one of the first placebo-controlled clinical trials investigating the effects of microdosing Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD). This Phase 1 trial is the first step in testing whether these kinds of psychedelic microdose methods could be useful as a therapeutic approach for treating Alzheimer’s disease, and while the early data doesn’t identify significant cognitive benefits in microdosing, it certainly demonstrates the method is safe enough to proceed to larger efficacy trials.
Two compelling new studies are building on a hypothesis suggesting age-related dementia is caused by a leaky blood-brain barrier, triggering neuro-inflammation and, ultimately, brain cell damage. The research reveals a novel anti-inflammatory drug can reverse brain aging in senile mice, but experts suggest the studies are interesting but not particularly applicable to human cases of dementia.
One of the many ways scientists are working to unravel the mysteries of Alzheimer’s is by conducting experiments on mice that have been genetically engineered to develop the disease. Researchers pondering the protective potential of compounds found in green tea and carrots have again taken this route and returned some promising results, with the Alzheimer’s mice demonstrating unimpaired cognitive function following a carefully designed bout of treatment.
Scientists believe that the underlying cause of many neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, is the buildup of misfolded protein clusters in the brain. A new antibody treatment developed by a team at the NYU School of Medicine has the potential to target a feature of these misfolded proteins shared by several different diseases, promising a possible single treatment for a variety of neurological disorders.
A host of debilitating disorders of the central nervous system cry out for treatment. Diseases like Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s — colloquially known as “The Long Goodbye” — come prominently to mind. All exact torturous tolls, both physical and mental, on the afflicted and their families. Nobody should have to endure them.
But imagine, one day, if Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s could be treated with a simple nasal spray. Wouldn’t that be incredible? Well, that’s just what Cobi Heijnen, a professor of neuroimmunology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, hopes to accomplish, using ubiquitous, often-overlooked bubble-like organelles present in almost all kinds of cells: exosomes.
Perhaps the most obstructing barrier to treating neurological conditions is quite literally a barrier. Tightly packed endothelial cells with restrictive junctions separate the body’s circulating blood from the brain’s extracellular fluid. This blood-brain barrier is a decidedly good thing, as it seals off our precious brains from common bacterial infections. However, like the overprotective father that blindly regards all of his daughter’s boyfriends as devilish miscreants, the blood-brain barrier frequently thwarts the delivery of many beneficial diagnostic and therapeutic agents to the brain, making it exceedingly difficult to treat neurological ailments.