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Researchers from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom have found that targeting and reducing inflammation in the brain can reduce memory problems seen in Alzheimer’s disease. This research adds to growing evidence that suppressing inflammation in the brain may lead to preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s disease.
Inflammation in the brain is caused by a build-up of microglia cells, which are cells that provide the main form and first line of immune defense. The proliferation of microglia cells has also been found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, post-mortem, and is a key indicator of several neurocognitive disorders. Individuals with Alzheimer’s also had an increased regulation of the CSF1R gene that correlated with the severity of the disease.
In order to reduce this inflammation, the research team needed to block the production of microglia cells. To do so, they administered drugs that block the CSF1R receptor, which is responsible for the increase in microglia cells in the brain, to mice. Results showed that the mice given the CSF1R-blocking drug had fewer memory and behavioral problems. The drug also proved beneficial in preventing the loss of communication between nerve cells in the brain, a common symptom in individuals with Alzheimer’s.
Described as encouraging by the research community, these results prove that a CSF1R treatment could be a potential therapy option for treating Alzheimer’s disease. Further studies will be needed to verify the long-term effectiveness of the drug in humans.
In the meantime, the Cognitive Therapeutics Team encourages non-pharmacological approaches to promote an active and healthy brain-centered lifestyle. We encourage 15 to 20 minutes of physical activity per day, a balanced diet, social interaction and mental engagement to promote cognitive health and enhance quality of life!