A protein released in joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been found to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers from the University of South Florida undertook a mouse-model study to try to establish why people with RA have a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease.
It has been thought that anti-inflammatory drugs taken to treat the joint were responsible, but it seems a naturally-produced protein instead holds the key.
Scientists found that this protein (GM-CSF) completely reversed the memory impairment among mice, and it is now thought that the compound encourages the body's natural scavenger cells to attack and remove the amyloid protein deposits known to cause Alzheimer's disease.
Reacting to the news, the Alzheimer's Society head of research Dr Susanne Sorensen said the study was very exciting and could lead to viable treatments.
However, we must not jump the gun. Much more research is needed before we can say for certain that the findings demonstrated in mice would also occur in humans," she added.
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