By Tony Winterburn •
Published: 02 Dec 2020 • 11:21
DRUG REVERSES Age-Related Mental Decline Within Days in Mouse Model and Helps Fight Other Diseases.
Some changes in the ability to think are considered a normal part of the ageing process. We develop many thinking abilities that appear to peak around age 30 and, on average, very subtly decline with age. These age-related declines most commonly include overall slowness in thinking and difficulties sustaining attention, multitasking, holding information in mind and word-finding. Research indicates that age-related changes in brain structures such as decreased hippocampal, frontal and temporal lobe volumes are a common aspect of ageing that contributes to some of the thinking changes.
However, not all thinking abilities decline with age. In fact, vocabulary, reading and verbal reasoning remain unchanged or even improve during the ageing process.
A New Drug Offers Hope
Just a few doses of an experimental drug has been shown to reverse age-related declines in memory and mental flexibility in mice, according to a new study by UC San Francisco scientists. The drug, called ISRIB, has already been shown in laboratory studies to restore memory function months after traumatic brain injury (TBI), reverse cognitive impairments in Down Syndrome, prevent noise-related hearing loss, fight certain types of prostate cancer, and even enhance cognition in healthy animals.
In the new study, published December 1, 2020, in the open-access journal eLife , researchers showed rapid restoration of youthful cognitive abilities in aged mice, accompanied by a rejuvenation of brain and immune cells that could help explain improvements in brain function.
“ISRIB’s extremely rapid effects show for the first time that a significant component of age-related cognitive losses may be caused by a kind of reversible physiological “blockage” rather than more permanent degradation,” said Susanna Rosi, PhD, Lewis and Ruth Cozen Chair II and professor in the departments of Neurological Surgery and of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science.
“The data suggest that the aged brain has not permanently lost essential cognitive capacities, as was commonly assumed, but rather that these cognitive resources are still there but have been somehow blocked, trapped by a vicious cycle of cellular stress,” added Peter Walter, PhD, a professor in the UCSF Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “Our work with ISRIB demonstrates a way to break that cycle and restore cognitive abilities that had become walled off over time.”
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