Last week, Wall Street Daily’s Justin Fritz reported on new Alzheimer’s treatment research from Genentech that, if successful, would work wonders for patients – and generate potentially massive revenue for its parent company, Roche Holding (PINK: RHHBY).
Now there’s even more hope for curing late onset mental illness, as scientists in Australia have discovered a molecule in the brain that may hold the key to preventing – or even curing – dementia.
That key, it turns out, is exercise, which has long been known to be good for the brain. But scientists were never quite sure why… until now.
Research out of the University of Queensland now shows that exercise excites a particular molecule called fractalkine, which, in turn, stimulates the growth of new cells associated with memory.
Director at Queensland Brain Institute, Professor Perry Bartlett, says their tests present evidence that a cure for dementia might be possible using this molecule. “If we’re right, we think we can not only stop but perhaps reverse some of the cognitive decline.”
According to the research, there are molecular pathways in mice that affect the brain’s ability to regenerate. And exercise regulates the condition of those pathways.
Bartlett says that fractalkine is “the major regulator of this process [of memory].” It stimulates the production of new nerve cells, which enable learning. With age, the development of those cells slows, reducing the brain’s ability to form new memories. “It turns out these cells, in fact, either stimulate or inhibit the production of these new nerve cells.”
The experiment that supplies the evidence for these claims is relatively simple…
Researchers placed mice on a rotating turntable, a section of which carried a small electrical charge. The mice were then challenged to remember and avoid where the electrical section was, says neuroscientist, Dr. Jana Vukovic. “It doesn’t take them very long to figure out that there is a zone that they should avoid.”
For older mice, however, it was much more difficult. But not after running on an exercise wheel.
After running, the mice developed higher levels of the fractalkine protein in their brains compared to mice that received no exercise.
Should human trials confirm these findings, the discovery could eventually lead to the development of fractalkine supplements, which could be taken to prevent the onset of dementia, or even reverse it.
Fortunately, to benefit from these findings, there’s no need to wait for the supplements to hit the market. Since fractalkine can be generated simply by exercising, just get up off the couch and you’re good to go.