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Mice studies & Alzheimer’s treatments


Recent studies in mice have shown progress in the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.


Researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA), USA, looked at how light could affect the symptoms and progression of the disease.


Alzheimer’s patients often have disrupted sleep patterns due to changes to their ‘biological clock’, which regulates the body’s circadian rhythms (the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle). Symptoms also tend to worsen at night.


To understand more about why these circadian disruptions occur, the team exposed mice with similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s to different levels of light, and found that the animals were more sensitive to the changes than healthy mice.


Heather Ferris at UVA said: “These data suggest that controlling the kind of light and the timing of the light could be key to reducing circadian disruptions in Alzheimer’s disease.”


Meanwhile, in preliminary research at Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, researchers developed a vaccine for Alzheimer’s that eliminated a protein found in inflamed brain cells, which are linked to the disease.


When the experimental vaccine was given to mice, the mice experienced a reduction of abnormal protein build-up in the brain (a hallmark of the disease), and showed behaviours more similar to healthy mice, such as an awareness of their surroundings.



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