Neuroscience Researcher Has Positive Message for International Alzheimer’s Awareness Week, July 6 – 12: ‘Even Though World Economy is Declining, Alzheimer’s Research is Advancing’
“Simply put, we now know that it is ‘calcium overload’ within the neurons that causes those neurons to stop functioning and brings about cognitive impairment and symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s,” says Underwood.
“Knowing this link allows us to postulate that an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s could be as simple as devising a process to remove the excess calcium ions from calcium-overloaded neurons and thereby restore normal neuronal function.”
Underwood says Quincy’s own study confirmed that cognitive function could be improved by lowering neuronal calcium concentrations.
“We asked 83 healthy volunteers with self-described poor memory to consume a supplement (Prevagen(R), www.prevagen.com) containing a protein found in jellyfish that buffers calcium by binding to it,” says Underwood.
“After 90 days, 63% of the volunteers reported less forgetfulness, 81% reported they required fewer reminders to complete daily tasks, and 74% reported improved ability to find the correct words in a conversation.”
Underwood says a key difference between normal, healthy individuals and those with Alzheimer’s disease is the rate at which healthy neurons become overloaded with calcium.
“Humans are born able to manufacture their own calcium-binding proteins but we gradually stop producing them at about age 40, and that’s when our neurons start to weaken and we begin to experience mild memory loss,” says Underwood. “Those with Alzheimer’s apparently stop producing these proteins at a faster rate so their cognitive impairment occurs with greater velocity.”
Underwood says he is confident that a drug for Alzheimer’s can be developed incorporating the jellyfish calcium-binding protein.
“We have shown that normal adults can improve their memory, focus, and concentration by lowering their neuronal calcium,” says Underwood. “We are very optimistic that the same compound can now be tested on Alzheimer’s patients to assess their level of cognitive improvement.”
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SOURCE Quincy Bioscience