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New stem cell transformation 'could revolutionise Alzheimer's research'

New stem cell transformation 'could revolutionise Alzheimer's research'
4th March 2011

Researchers have transformed a human embryonic stem cell into a critical kind of neuron lost due to Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists at Northwestern Medicine reprogrammed the stem cells into a critical type of neuron that dies early in Alzheimer's disease - a major cause of memory loss for those with the condition.

It is thought that, in Alzheimer's, it is the ability to retrieve memories that is lost, not the memories themselves.

Subsequently, this new ability to reprogram and grow a limitless supply of these neurons will enable rapid Alzheimer's research and potentially, transplant them into those with the condition.

Senior study author Jack Kessler said: "Now that we have learned how to make these cells, we can study them in a tissue culture dish and figure out what we can do to prevent them from dying."

Meanwhile, research published in Age and Ageing has found that moderate alcohol consumption could actually help to stave off dementia.

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