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Stem cells could 'boost dementia hopes'

Stem cells could 'boost dementia hopes'
22nd July 2009

Stem cell treatments could be used to effectively address the degeneration brought about by dementia and Alzheimer's disease, with new research showing such a rescue for the first time.

Scientists at the University of California, Irvine found that neural stem cells can restore memory in mice suffering from late-stage Alzheimer's disease, showing that the likes of Aricpet, Exelon and other drugs may be usurped in the near future.

The treatment secreted a protein in the brain, rebuilding it in a similar way to fertiliser, according to the team.

Lead author Mathew Blurton-Jones said: "If you look at Alzheimer's, it's not the plaques and tangles that correlate best with dementia; it's the loss of synapses - connections between neurons.

"The neural stem cells were helping the brain form new synapses and nursing the injured neurons back to health."

It follows rare bad news announced at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD) held in Vienna, Austria this month, where it was stated there was some unfavourable trial results regarding the "blockbuster" diabetes drug Avandia as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

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